Marco Abarca: Wood, Paint, Fantasy
Marco Abarca, of Oaxaca, Mexico, tells a unique tale in each of his lyrical wood constructions. Some, such as The Brave Little Tailor: Seven with One Blow, are accompanied by the artist’s adaptation of a well-known story, in this case the tale by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Others, like The Song of the Owl, are based on traditional Mexican fables; and still other pieces, such as Looking Through a Window, are visual representations of Abarca’s personal musings.
Abarca’s art, a whimsical interpretation of the natural world, blends the dreamlike strangeness of Surrealism with the enchantment of the best hand-made toys. His own stories and characters, such as the charming Cocoons or The Prince of the Moon and the Princess of the Sun, are allegories for the change of a day or the growth of a season.
Each of Abarca’s fanciful sculptures, inspired by fairy tales, memories of childhood, and natural objects, starts as a drawing in his sketchbook. One of his goals is to be faithful to the natural objects he renders. Thus, for The Brave Little Tailor, Abarca bought apples, cut them up, and then drew them from several points of view before crafting the apple from wood.
Abarca begins each new construction with a trip to his local lumberyard. There he chooses varied colors of wood from among exotic boards, or indigenous woods that come from the Tabasco Forest in Mexico. In his studio he cuts, glues, and chisels the wood into the shapes that compose his sculptures. Some of the small figures he constructs like puppets, so that parts of their bodies move. After finely sanding and polishing the wood, Abarca completes his work with paint and sometimes with polished gemstones or fabric embellishments.
— Susan Calabria, curator
Abarca’s work is represented by the Pucker Gallery in Boston.