Catalina León: The useless sacrifice

Over the past ten years, the work of Catalina León (Buenos Aires, 1981) has stood out for the innovative way in which it has expanded the expressive horizons of painting. Fascinated by astrology, psychology, religions and rituals, she explores what it means to be a human being in the world and the bonds that link us to the people around us. She investigates how painting is part of and responds to life: she has covered her paintings with earth and plants, she has poked holes in them and left them at the mercy of the elements, she has painted rubble, broken plaster panels, blinds and worn out fabric, and she has filled them with phrases, small portraits, references to her fears and desires, and gestures derived from her own movements.

León once described her work as a way of ‘inhabiting time’. Her painted panels, cardboard and fabrics acquire their shape and language as the days go by. She allows herself to be freely carried away by the act of painting, drawing and embroidery with no specific plan or timetable.

With less room for figurative aspects and anecdotes and a more relaxed atmosphere, her pieces approach abstraction and even emptiness.

In their appropriation of space, the works invite movement and discovery. Like a useless sacrifice, everything here is a generous execution that began as a search and ended by offering a point of encounter.

Catalina León (Buenos Aires, 1981) began her artistic training in 1998 at individual workshops including a year with Mariana López in 2002. Between 2003 and 2005 she took part in the Beca Kuitca/Rojas U.B.A grant while in 2007 she won the Primer Premio arteBA/Petrobrás with the installation Patio o pintura para piso y plantas (Patio or Painting for the Floor and Plants). In 2010 she co-founded Vergel, a project that intermingles art, health and education for which she acts as coordinator and teacher at the Dr Ricardo Gutiérrez Children’s Hospital.