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David Anaya Maya | Providentia

June 27 - August 3, 2024

High Noon is pleased to present David Anaya Maya: Providentia. In their NYC solo debut, Anaya Maya uses tropicality as a motif to mine their identity as a Colombian immigrant and queer non-binary person. The formal properties of the intimately scaled works are centered around an ambiguity pertaining to exterior and interiority, reflecting the blurred distinction between outdoor and indoor spaces in a tropical context. They inhabit the gallery space in a narrative, collagist format, exploring how art exists outside of the prescribed Western rectilinear format. However, their actual media— oil on linen— deceptively anchors them in the Western history of painting.


Tropicality is distinguished by the conditions and stability of the fertile climate between approximately 23.4° N and 23.4° S of the equator, which houses a vast majority of the Earth’s plant and animal life. From the Greek “tropos,” meaning “turn,” the latitudinal boundaries of this region are the points in which the sun “changes course” between the Winter and Summer solstices. For Anaya Maya, queerness is inherently connected to nature and its cycles— the biodiversity that causes life to proliferate.


“Millennia ago, when these conditions were experienced at the peak of their possibilities, Indigenous cultures in South America and the Caribbean flourished,” they explain. “For at least two thousand years, the Tayronas, Quimbayas, and Muiscas, among other Pre-columbian peoples, mastered the art of the lost-wax method to create powerful votive figures and imagery. They utilized the most malleable of all metals as a liquid capable of connecting and conciliating the material and the immaterial world.”


In Coat of Arms, 2023, two symmetrical scapular forms resemble a shield or breastplate. They are covered in a monochrome bronze oil powder that becomes a surface somewhere between metal and flesh, with the linen substrate emulating the porousness of skin. The title, borrowing from a medieval system of hereditary iconography, plays on the idea of inheritance as it relates to biology and the ideas and symbols we are taught to ascribe to biological sex. Divine Providence, 2023, is a self-portrait of the artist painted into the tromp l’oeil surface of a citrus fruit so that the markings that delineate the facial features occur as camouflage. In front of the fruit is an invented structure of pearly white twigs and bulbs like a bridal veil, suggesting transformation and protection.


At a time when bodies are at the forefront of political conversation and legislative battles, Anaya Maya leans into the sociological themes behind the work as much as the spiritual. While the exhibition’s title implies the possibility of a world beyond the binary, the individual works tend to operate as invented relics, connecting them with the idea of prophecy. Their hybridity celebrates biodiversity in a way that feels deeply personal to the artist’s experience while embracing the humor behind the absurdity of the superstructures it critiques.


David Anaya Maya was born in Bogotá D.C., raised in rural Colombia, and currently lives and works in New York City. After graduating as ‘Maestro’ from Los Andes University in 2004, Anaya Maya has shown their work internationally and has explored an extensive range of materials, mediums and concepts. As an artist, curator, writer, teacher and art collective organizer, Anaya Maya has expanded seminal interconnections between peoples, bodies, identities, species and ecosystems. David has been awarded with fellowships and residencies in Colombia, The Banff Centre in Canada, The Drawing Center in New York, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Two of their drawings are part of the collection of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art.

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