Bright, bloody little things

Annie Gomez’s debut art show Alter of Anguish isn’t short on depth, nor do her works lack mystery — so it comes as a surprise that Gomez can’t explain why her works border on being gory. Well, “gory” may be a bit too harsh, but a handful of her paintings contain teddy bears with limbs ripped off or a headless doll. There must be a reason why she paints these images.

“Self-portrait” is a standout piece and caused me to question why she considered it a portrait of herself, since it’s a cat with armor atop a pillow. It’s fitting, she says, because she’s cat-like yet she’s not one to be messed with, which explains the armor.

“Stumbling blocks” is a rich, colorful piece that features her signature hourglass, a one-eyed rooster, and a child stacking blocks. The child is painted in black-and-white with blood streaming down her face and an almost maniacal look. A rosary, an art book, blood-stained knives, and broken paintbrushes can be found near the girl. The tableau symbolizes how her youth is slipping away, and, as the blocks subliminally spell out, “I do not know God.” Whether Gomez fully acknowledges it or not, a lot of her works deal with the struggle she endured when she was younger in the convent, and the choice she made to accept life as an artist or live God’s will. `See story,
pg. 39`

“Dying Spirit” is a complex split-screen image with two worlds represented — one barren and deserted the other lively, and colorful — yet knives are present. The central image of a brain shows one side with black or dying veins while the other, livelier side shows both red and black veins. As the black veins begin to take over both sides of the brain, the logical and the intuitive, the spirit begins to die.

Gomez’s debut show is a dark yet inviting collection of works that delves into spirituality and inner turmoil — yet, it’s accomplished in such a way that it doesn’t put off the audience member. Call it beginner’s luck or not, but Gomez has a knack for depicting anguish without fully startling the unsuspecting viewer.

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