Bespoke Banter

By Catherine M. Austin

The mesmerizing new work of Cristina Toro is on view at LaCa Projects. Her exhibition, 'Strike a Match to Hear My Sound', is up through April 7, 2017. Pictures do not come close to doing these brilliant works justice. The indescribable vibrant colors, rhythmic imagery, and impressive scale can only be fully appreciated in person. 

The works represent the artist’s ongoing dialogue with humanity and the natural world. Toro addresses natural and supernatural phenomena related to fire and light. The inspiration for the works began in the artist’s kitchen, where she experienced the phenomenon of luminous plasma from static electricity creating a glowing light, or Saint Elmo’s Fire. This exhibition shares a number of examples related to energy and luminosity: ritual bonfires, polaroids, candles inside of kettles, phosphorescence, human energy fields, and the various properties of light, real and imagined, that come from the sun and the moon in relationship to one’s body.

Influenced by Indian miniature painting and Japanese woodblock prints, the colors and technique are flat yet quite intense. Each work is a narrative revealing her sensory experience to nature. Toro’s work is not preconceived. She repeats motifs such as moths, mushrooms, eyes, flames, floral and fauna, in an imperfectly symmetrical arrangement that is both aesthetically pleasing yet intriquing in its slight imbalance. 

The collages are more of a journal for the artist. Through placing beloved photographs and old sketches into these pieces, she is allowing a part of herself to go out into the universe in her artwork. The layered, personal nature of these collages shows the vulnerable side of the artist in a very mysterious way.

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