Equity Gallery is pleased to present Maya Ciarrocchi’s Site: Yizkor, the long-awaited culmination of New York Artists Equity’s Residency Fellow Program. Through an expansive series of multidisciplinary artworks, including drawings, monotypes, cyanotypes, and photographs, Ciarrocchi carefully excavates and pieces together disappearing histories from the remains of architecture and fragmented memories, in the process recreating a complete visual story. The compilation of disparate materials to reconstitute and rebuild fractured narratives is deliberately employed by Ciarrocchi to evoke a Yizkor book, a type of memorial books written by Jewish Holocaust survivors to commemorate the people and places destroyed. She synthesizes the power in documentation, demonstrates how it plays a role in forging narrative, and shows how narratives can help people overcome seemingly insurmountable loss. Ciarrocchi combines and superimposes an aggregation of disparate components, such as blueprints, maps, topography, architecture, the human form, and Old Testament figures.
At first glance, there is an internal chaos to each artwork. Spooling lines and sketched out winding vectors insinuate the appearance of impossible buildings and landscapes, faded silhouettes of delicate human figures hide within densely packed lines and swaths of dark blotches of ink, at times only barely visible. However, the combined elements reinforce each other. On their own, the forms collected within Ciarrocchi’s work would be disconnected, ill-defined components, but in conjunction with the other elements included, they are given structure, emphasized and emboldened. Once displaced and without context, they are restored to being whole again through their inclusion. As highlighted by her Murderous Women series, narrative has been utilized to overcome hardship since ancient times. The stories of Yael and Judith are about the war-battered and oppressed striking out against their victimizers and, despite all odds, emerging victorious. Both tales chronicle overcoming trauma through wit and resilience in the face of brute force. Ciarrocchi sees the capacity of storytelling as a tool to make past struggles corporeal and as one of the most potent methods humanity has to endure and heal. The ability to examine past tribulations, as well as to recollect and manifest what initially seems permanently faded or lost, is what enables people to persevere and survive.
Maya Ciarrocchi’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and she has received residencies and fellowships from the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Bronx Museum of the Arts (AIM), LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, MacDowell, Millay Colony, UCross and Wave Hill. She received a Film/Video Grant from The Jerome Foundation and funding from the Bay and Paul Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund, MAP Fund, and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation. In addition to her studio practice, Ciarrocchi has created award winning projection design for dance and theater including the TONY award winning Broadway musical The Band's Visit. Ciarrocchi is the recipient of a 2021 grant from the Trust for Mutual Understanding and a 2020 BRIO Award from the Bronx Council on the Arts. Ciarrocchi earned an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY, and a BFA from SUNY Purchase, Purchase, NY.
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