Contemporary "Cave Painting" Comes on Display in Mexico

Artists explore the modern meaning of mark-making in 'The Negative Hand' a new show at Mexico City's Anonymous Gallery.

Behind the many works at The Negative Hand show in Mexico City's Anonymous Gallery is a single, prehistoric cave painting found in the Pech Merle cave in the 1920's. The cave mural that gave the exhibition its name and inspiration is an imprinted outline of an individual's hand created by blowing pigment onto the stone wall. While the show's featured artists are diverse in style and background, they are each linked to both this prehistoric painter and each other by the “common thread of reflexive mark-making," Anonymous Gallery director Joseph Ian Henrikson tells The Creators Project.

Henrikson explains that the focus of this show was on finding works that implement mark-making but also that investigate “the idea of showing who the artist is and the place in time in which they’re working.” The works thus act like a timestamp, signifying the artist's presence and carbon dating them to their particular moment. As the show’s press release adds, cave painting, like these modern reinterpretations, exists, "both as an exercise in figurative abstraction as well as a performative signature, and the body of the artist becomes concretized into a promethean mark-making archetype.” 

The show features a variety of artistic mediums including painting and ceramics—an effort on the part of Henrikson and his collaborator and featured artist Andrew Birk to show various bodies of work in different media. Together, the pieces demonstrate “how individual gestures and marks connect to larger systems of communication that relate to the space and time in which each artist practices, a space and time through which their gestures and finally narratives are inevitably imprinted onto.”

Check out some images from The Negative Hand below:

Left: DEVIN TROY STROTHER, Nigga that's just a bunch of lil ass paintings With a happy face on it -– part1., Oil paint, acrylic, oil pastel, sharpie, miniature stretched canvas cut paper on linen, 2015, 12 x 15 in; Right: DEVIN TROY STROTHER, Nigga, are you just gonna put a bunch a lil paintings on That big ass painting, and then call it a painting, Oil paint, acrylic, oil pastel, sharpie ,miniature stretched canvas cut paper on linen, 2015, 30 x 40 in

Installation view

ANTHONY MILER. Untitled (faceforms), 2014, Graphite on raw canvas, 17 x 14 in.

ANDREW BIRK, Alien (Iztapalapa),2015, Bondo and Aerosol Enamel on canvas., 98.4 x 78.75 in.

SOFIA LEIBY, An excuse is a polite rejection (after JW), 2014, Acrylic and chalk pastel on silk, 40 x 30 in.

Top: JENNIE JIEUN LEE, And the problem with that is?, 2015, 15 x 19 x 2 in; Bottom: JENNIE JIEUN LEE, PS 41,2015, 19.5 x 19 x 1 in.

SOFIA LEIBY, Eye--‐less, 2015, Acrylic and chalk pastel on silk, 30 x 24 in.

The Negative Hand will be up at the Anonymous Gallery from July 18th through to August 29th. Click here to find out more. 


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3-D Cave Paintings, Courtesy of Werner Herzog