Encarni Diaz aka “Ginger”, is an artist living and working in Malaga, Spain. Her work embarks on journey of redemption and self-preservation while finding peace in mind, body, and soul. Encarni’s paintings often features young women with no facial identification relying on body compositions and symbolic references such as animals and amulets as a way to communicate her intentions. Diaz carefully laces a world of magic and secrecy allowing her fears to surface gently although not exposing them in their entirety. When asked about the significance of certain objects within her paintings and her upcoming show at the Nero Gallery in Rome, Encarni had this to say:
I have been following your work for some time. One thing that I have always loved about your paintings is the usage of hands. They look very theatrical and almost take on a “Shakespearean” tone. What is it about hands that have lead you to emphasize them within your work? Thank you for pointing out the “theatrical” observation. That is exactly how I want people to see my work. Regarding the hands…my paintings are mostly a reflection of a particular emotion, a feeling, or a state of mind. One can express so many things through hand gestures. Also, one can observe someone else´s hands and get an idea of how they may be feeling. One may even guess their personality…whether they are shy, friendly, helpful, if they feel uncomfortable or if fear is present in their lives. Hands may be used to care, receive, destroy, keep secrets, protect, show kindness, accompany, carry burdens, and they definitely help me show my world. To me, hands are the perfect subjects and through them I can express my thoughts and ideas.
Even when I start a piece about a particular story that has been already been written, like a fairytale, I normally tend to visually tell the story through the hands of the character. I try to imagine the feelings that those hands would express in that story. That is why they are the center of my work. Around hands, I can build a whole story.
In your paintings, one may regularly see antiquated keys, bewitched amulets, and curative crystals. What do these objects signify? Yes, I love symbology. For me, the keys represent the closing of a chapter in one’s life and the opening of another. It is the tool necessary to end a story and the opportunity to start a new one. I am very passionate about these types of themes. Our life can be seen as a long road that has yet to be written and based on our decisions, we choose what paths to follow. Within our life story we are given many keys which we use to close doors and open a new ones. That is life…a bunch of stories and experiences and a pocket full of keys to use.
The symbols I mostly use represent ideas like possession and salvation. Other symbols I tend to use is the caduceus symbol that means balance between opposing forces, the penrose triangle symbol as impossibility in its purest form, or the little triangle with the key symbol which represents keeping secrets in the heart. I am very attracted to the dark side of life and I like to add traces of enigmatic mystery into my work.
Your solo show “No River To Take Me Home” at the Nero Gallery in Italy will open in September. I read in your newsletter that the title encompasses your feelings of “losing” and “not finding your way back”. Why do you want to go “back”? Well, I wanted to find a name that would encompass all the paintings within the upcoming exhibition at the Nero Gallery. All my paintings represent different stories and what ties them together is that they have become guidelines in recovering what has been lost such as one’s inner peace and happiness. Some of that loss may be a feeling of balance to to be in tuned with who one is. At some point in life, some of us have lost our way and to rediscover the path back has become very difficult.
Life is not easy and some years ago I started to have personal problems which I found hard to deal with. I started feeling unstable and anxious and it became this big monster for me. I was unable to fight it. I lost myself and I became someone I was unable to recognize. I realized that part of my problem was my way of dealing with these problems. I felt I was too sensitive, too exposed, too permeable for this harsh world. “Home” is that place where one feels good, safe, and loved. I was lost and I didn´t know how to go back “home”. At this point, all I really wanted was to go back there. Then I started to paint. I was doing art before but nothing serious like this. Four years ago, when I began this journey, I sat in front of a big canvas with a bunch of old oils and I asked myself “What do you really wanna do? What do you have to offer? What does your heart want to paint? Shortly after, I painted “Under My Surface”. The piece was about a woman living in two different realities. On the surface everything is apparently normal. She is drinking tea and her heart, represented by birds, is tied tight to her wrist. Everything is under control. Under the surface she has tentacles and her universe is thick with darkness. The only thing she can do at this point is not to sink. I felt very good when I finished the painting. I was representing my own reality but still there was something missing and I realized that I not only wanted to paint my reality but I wanted to present possible solutions to my emptiness.
I looked at all the paintings standing against the walls of my studio days before I sent them out to the gallery and they were all there …showing me what I have to do to find my way back “home”. I hope that they will also help others on their journey back home, that they may find a “river” that will guide one back “home”.
Encarni has exhibited in various galleries around the world including Gristle Gallery in New York City, and The Cactus Gallery and Swoon Gallery in Los Angeles, California. Encarni is currently represented by the American gallery Alexi Era and The Dream Factory in Frankfurt, Germany. Diaz is set to debut her solo show “No River To Take Me Home” at the Nero Gallery in Rome, Italy. The show will run from September 19 thru October 24th. If you would like to view more of Encarni’s work, visit her website or you may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.