Simchowitz presents Blue Hymn: Postlude by Elizabeth Ibarra, the follow-up exhibition to the artist’s Blue Hymn: Prelude, which took place at Simchowitz’s Pasadena location earlier this year. The gallery hosted an opening reception on April 29, 2023 at Simchowitz Gallery (8255 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048). The exhibition will remain on view through May 27, 2023.

The figures in Blue Hymn: Postludsuggest a slight departure for the artist given that they’re generally devoid of horns (or ears or pigtails depending on your interpretation) as so many of her earlier works did, and then there are the flowers – bright colorful flowers, which she says, are reflections of her backyard in the springtime, where red and yellow flowers bloom. To some, this type of imagery might belie Ibarra’s melancholic world view, which she confesses has always defined her and her work. As she recalls, a feeling of darkness was something that haunted her youth and often overwhelmed her. This foreboding became more pronounced after moving to the US where Ibarra felt more alone and unsure of her direction. More recently, as her life, career, and family began to feel more secure, she claims that she has since become okay with it. “I now understand that it’s ok to have, or be aware, of the darkness in things,” she explains. “Because it has taught me to see life truthfully and to see the good and the bad and everything in between.”

What hasn’t changed in Ibarra’s new works is the sheer, tangible quality of her process, which combines her use of oil paints, cold wax, and colored pencil, that she builds up and scratches into, giving them a rich, earthy feel. That has inspired some to compare her work to certain Mexican artists of the 1950’s, such as Gustavo Arias Murueta who created new forms of abstraction by tapping into his most personal feelings. One can also find a relationship to other painterly traditions, from the bold expressionism and mark-making of Robert Motherwell, to the tender surrealism of Joan Miro; from the earthy, hand-made quality of Arte Povera, to the subconscious mining of the Surrealists. It’s all there, and yet uniquely Ibarra-esque.

Also included in the exhibition is Ibarra’s limited-edition print, Blue Dance III, 2023 produced by Simco Editions. Blue Dance III is a tritone lithograph printed on Coventry Rag paper, vellum (290 gsm) with hand torn edges. It’s based on an original painting of the same name and captures Ibarra’s practice succinctly, with a thick, powerful brushstroke suggesting a female figure standing alone, suggesting strength, movement and confidence.

Elizabeth Ibarra’s (b 1986 Guadalajara, MX) work has been shown at The Mistake Room, Los Angeles; The Pit, Los Angeles; UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles; Fellows of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Tatjana Pieters, Ghent and Brussels; and Rental Gallery, East Hampton. A portfolio of her work was recently published in Paris Review (No. 237, 2021), and ArtForum gave her exhibition at Rental Gallery a “Critic’s Pick” in the June issue, 2020. This is her fourth show with Simchowitz.

On view: April 29, 2023 – May 27, 2023

What: Blue Hymn: Postlude, Elizabeth Ibarra
Where: Simchowitz Gallery, 8255 Beverly Blvd. LA, 90048