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Publico, Wednesday, June 20, 2001:

MG portraitist of the Mummies of Guanajuato

The life behind the Mummies

By Francisco González V.


The expressiveness of The Mummies of Guanajuato is employed by the American painter who goes by MG to create a reflection concerning life and death in what is the first exposition of her career, and that since June 8 can be appreciated in exhibition room 2 of the Galería de Arte Moderno.

The exhibition "Las Momias de Guanajuato" is made up of 16 oils, and in twelve of them MG (Providence, Rhode Island, 1975) contrasts the portrait of a mummy of Guanajuato with the face of a living person in the same posture and expression. In order to execute this series of portraits, MG first photographed the "mummified models" that constitute one of the most emblematic tourist attractions of Guanajuato.

Later, MG made an oil version of the portraits that in her opinion transmitted more an image of life than of death, and later searched her acquaintances for those whose faces could tie in with those of the mummies. It is because of this that four of the oils bear the model's name, "Leone", "Antonio", "Jack" and "Annie", while their "mummified" counterpart is identified just by a number.

The selection of the living models was done also based on the vitality that they express to MG as people. "For that reason I believe this is an exhibition that should cause you to question your own life", she says.

The other two pairs of mummy portraits are not based on real models. In one of them, where the mummy is seen with arms crossed on the chest, with the jaw opened , MG decided to paint the body of "an ambiguous" boy, as she describes it, to explain why his features are not completely defined between those of an African boy or a native {Mexican}. In the other pair of portraits MG took advantage of the mummy's posture to show in her counterpart a woman hanged by a rope. In this last case MG was inspired to paint herself "because I didn't want to 'kill' any of my friends", smile.

Four landscapes are also included in the exhibition that, MG agrees, serve as a "rest " for the spectator. The artist, who at the moment paints and resides in Melaque, Jalisco, feels happy with the opinions that the visitors have written in the gallery's guestbook, and is expecting that her representative can arrange for the exhibition to travel to the state of Guanajuato.

At the moment, Guadalajarans can know this work within the confines of number 375 on Mariano Otero avenue, almost at the Niños Héroes rotary, where it will remain until June 30.

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