SF: Peruvian Artist Patricia Mera Is Trippy, Mane

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Twitter: @labarbaraaa

Inspired by Peruvian flora and fauna and born with an innate desire to draw, Patricia Mera has arrived in New York to live out dreams of art and creative movement. Cusco to Miami to San Francisco to New York was her geographical trajectory– assorted and diverse like the elements of her artwork. In her pieces, Mera assembles, imagines and creates collages from found elements, ink and marker drawings, watercolors and images from magazines. The results are intricate, provocative and tell her personal story.

“I need to make things. Some people need to go running, some people need to cook. I need to draw,” Mera told me over fancy beers at her basement studio in Bushwick. Her work tells the story of a disciplined wanderer and creative who traveled from Latin America gathering snippets of imagery along the way. Mera says her artistic breakthrough happened in Peru where you can feel the ancient energy of the land and it’s easy to draw inspiration from the landscapes.

In her mixed-media collage ‘Natural Thoughts,’ networks of cellular detail you might see under a microscope combine with knobby branches, and pools of water with floating reeds. These elements all gush from a pulsing heart-shaped center. The geometrical patterns in this work and many of her other pieces have antecedents in the vibrant textiles made in the mountains of the Andean regions of South America.

An image of the Virgen makes a cameo in her oeuvre and alludes to her classical training at La Escuela de Bellas Artes in Cusco. She’s doesn’t come off as religious by nature but there’s a spiritual sense of meditation in her collages you can see with the traces of repetitive markings and obsessive consistency. The work can also be hypnotic, which makes sense when she talks about her influences: psychedelic rock, the videos and drawings of Bruce Bickford and Daniel Johnston–a brilliant musician with an array of psychological problems.

However looking at the entirety of her work, the subjects and materials she uses are diverse. They are consistently a mash up of ink, marker and pencil drawings, and realistic cutout images.The introduction of non-drawings like photographs or magazine images give her collages an avant garde appeal. She has works that include female nudes from Playboy magazines, images of people and animals, skulls and an abundance of nature. She also showed me sheets of typed-on tracing paper she found in Berlin at an abandoned beer factory, which she will use in new work.

After finishing art school in San Francisco with a thesis show where she created visual illustrations of the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, Mera showed her work in Berlin and soon after moved to New York where she’s been living for five months. Mera had an opening this past Saturday in Oakland at Naming Gallery, where she muralized the walls of the space and threw an eclectic art party. Stop by if you’re in the area, but if you’re in New York, keep an eye out because she’s bound to be spreading her work around the five boroughs soon enough.

335 15th Street // Oakland, California 94612
Wednesday – Saturday 12 pm – 6pm