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The aura of Antonia Guerrero’s exhibition, Absence/Presence, spans the distance between Casa Puebla and MediaNoche Gallery – each located on opposite poles of Central Park. The exhibition explores the notion of bodies and identities in constant flux, movement and transfer, and the effects of this movement on our consciousness. Specifically relating to Mexican immigrants, the work of this award-winning Mexican artist who has exhibited throughout the U.S. and Mexico, addresses cultural mis/displacement and what parts of identity change, disappear, or remain.

The concept of absence implies something or someone that once was. It is not a simple vacancy of space. Absences leave marks – the indication of something departed. These are the sentiments that emerge from the large scale drawings on view at Casa Puebla. In one drawing, a maguey cactus dominates the scene with an empty chair in the foreground. We understand that the chair was once occupied and are compelled to think about what caused the occupants movement and their decision to leave the company of the maguey. Most of the other drawings have been ripped and threaded back together. The artistic process of tearing and mending the drawings parallels the human relationships that are torn and disrupted due to instability. Though people may be reunited, they may never fully recover or heal just as two sides of a ripped page will never fully bond.

On display at MediaNoche is the video work by Guerrero in which she demonstrates how her drawings were shred and sewn together. As if performing, she dismembers the limbs of her maguey drawing on one monitor, and is then seen reconstructing the piece on a separate wall projection. The videos demonstrate Guerrero’s decision to have her drawings always bear the mark of separation, a constant reminder of what was experienced between absence and presence.

Absence/Presence is on view at Casa Puebla until September 29th, and at MediaNoche until October 26th. The traveling between one exhibition space to the other only aids in the understanding of migration and movement.