ORGAN THING | 21st August 2023

Sean Worrall glowingly reviews Horacio Quiroz’s solo exhibition ‘Goddesses of Spoiled Lands’ at ANNKA KULTYS GALLERY, describing it as ‘is an excellent show, [with] eight fine paintings, eight paintings that want to talk to you’.

ORGAN THING: Mexican painter Horacio Quiroz and his great big blocks of beautiful brutalist colour, deliciously painted, happening now at East London’s Annka Kultys Gallery…

Horacio Quiroz – Goddesses of Spoiled Lands at Annka Kultys Gallery – Where were we? Catching up with a review of a rather fine exhibition of paintings that’s on right now here in East London. An exhibition on right now and happening throughout August and all the way through until September 2nd. An exhibition of Paintings, actual paintings hanging on the actual gallery wall, that almost taboo’d thing, not a video screen in sight, well not in the main part of the gallery anyway (there is some nonsense about QR codes and an NFT version of each painting if we point a phone at said QR things but you know how I feel about the emperor’s entire wardrobe when it comes to all that NFT stuff). Oh the blessed relief of paintings on walls, of full gallery walls alive with paintings you can engage with, paintings that are waiting to talk to you, proper paintings and nothing but air between them and what they want to say to you….  

This is the first UK solo show from Mexican artist Horacio Quiroz – a series of eight paintings that fuse Quiroz’s interest in mythology with his signature lithic painting technique. Citing the crumbling and idiosyncratic qualities of the sidewalks in Mexico City as one source of inspiration, (according to the gallery’s own statement on the show) Quiroz doubles-up on rocks’ rich metaphorical strata – as a carrier bag of cosmic history, as signposts for innumerable entropic events, as hard evidence of the interconnectedness of all matter – to communicate the possibilities of such an expanded perspective.

“Rocks for me are simultaneously a representation of reality, the cosmic, the geological, and the human,” shares Quiroz. “They are monolithic composts that build ephemeral goddesses composed of legends, stories and beliefs that have formed layer after layer of human thought since its appearance on Earth.”

I really do like his palette, his use of colour, the bigness of it all. the strength. the not quite sure what we’re looking at feel of it all, is that some kind of blocky almost brutalist shape? Deities encased in blocks? Blockheads? No, we might be in East London, but no, not blockheads. Striated marbling and set against an almost alien science fiction flavoured sky? All pastel colours like some kind of creamy Laura Ashley coloured futurism, oil paint so we’re told. I do love his colour. 

I guess you could call it surreal, the surreal work of the Mexico City-based self-taught painter Horacio Quiroz. I’m never quite sure what self-taught means, don’t all painters teach themselves? I imagine Mexico City would be a hell of a place to be a working painter, I do like a painter or paintings that come from somewhere, paintings that have a root, I kind of like that I’m getting to see this in a gallery on a small industrial estate off the Hackney Road here in East London. They are monolithic, is there a touch of Giger about them? Maybe if Giger was to be into big brutalist blocks of Mexican concrete? Oh I don’t know. What do I know? I know i really really like this show  and indeed, contradictions abound in every corner, things left on the floor, soft, hard, left right, male, female, genitals, human as the caretaker, human and animal anatomies, the Captain’s Table? We’ll turn the tables over? A self-sacrificing she-wolf goddess over there, a smile over here. Glorious textures, beautiful colour, deliciously painted, Did I say that the other day or did I find those words somewhere? I started writing this back when the show opened, I’ve been rather busy doing way way too many things but I do really want to write something about this fine fine show while it is still happening.

Goddesses of Spoiled Lands is an excellent show, eight fine paintings, eight paintings that want to talk to you, that want you to stand in front of them and explore, a set of painting you need ot make time for and now at 2.16am on a Monday morning I really need to get back to my own paint… Do go see Horacio’s show, it is a rather good one (sw)

The show is on until 2nd Sept 2023. The gallery is open Wednesday through to Saturday, Midday until 6pm.

The Annka Kultys Gallery is at 472 Hackney Road, Unit 9, London, E2 9EQ. No longer up those stairs above that shop on the main street, you now need to go around the back through the red gates to the small industrial estate behind the shop space, the gallery is to your left at the back in the far corner.

Link to the review →