"Aimee Garcia Marrero at Fraser Gallery"
By Louis Jacobson
© Washington City Paper
Thursday, December 9, 2004.

For an artist who chooses to remain in Cuba, ambiguity is usually the best policy. This is demonstrated in the works of Aimee Garcia Marrero, who is mounting her second solo show in the United States at the Fraser Gallery in Georgetown.

The 11 works on view are all wall-mounted paintings of disembodied women’s heads, each adorned with (or, more often, defaced by) three-dimensional household objects.

In Accesorio (Accessory), a thoroughly rusted, wood-handled knife slices through the tightly wrapped bun of the subject’s hair; in Accesorio II (Accessory II), the head is stuck with six protruding forks; and in Señuelo (untranslated in the title, but meaning "bait" or "lure"), the head is saddled with a fishing-rod contraption that ends in a sharp hook, inches from the woman’s mouth.

With such works, viewers can fill in their own gender-commentary blanks, but in others, Marrero is more clearly aiming her commentary right back at Cuba.

In Riendas (Reins)(pictured), a woman’s head is tethered to a baby doll—a symbol sometimes used in Cuba to represent the Communist Revolution.

And in an untitled piece, a woman’s string of pearls pierces her eye; Cuba sometimes calls itself the Pearl of the Caribbean. The most timely, and international, statement may be Conciencia (Conscience), in which two painted women’s heads, facing apart, are connected by an EKG-like red line sewn with thread. The woman on the left appears to be a Latin American with flowing hair; the one on the right appears to be wearing an Islamic head scarf. Is the piece a commentary on the Middle East or just an example of the artist’s personal symbology? In Cuba, it’s best not to know for sure.

The show is on view from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday to Wednesday, December 15, at Fraser Gallery, 1054 31st St. NW. Free. (202) 298-6450.

Louis Jacobson

© Copyright 2004 Washington City Paper