Chinatown Soup is delighted to present One Woman, an exhibition of fine art prints and re-imagined canvases by Maria Lopez. An opening reception will take place on March 15 from 6-8pm with collaborative programming through the 27th in celebration of Women’s History Month.

At age 16, Maria was crucified - nailed to the bench of the Tate before Francis Bacon’s “magnificent armature,” or most recognized triptych. “It was a religious experience. It unlocked something inside,” she recalls, faded photograph in hand. Pictured is woman with a tumbling top bun and faded jeans, surrounded by boxes of turpentine and countless rags. This time around, she’s staring at her own work in progress. Raw canvases slathered with oil are pinned to the wall awaiting Maria’s signature figures to take shape. It’s a scene that evokes the preserved studio of her favorite artist, who, at the moment captured, had recently passed. 

Embracing the technique of the non-technique, she describes a spontaneous ritual of throwing and sponging at random to splash together human forms that is akin to Bacon’s unconscious channeling. But Maria’s sensitivity to the consciousness of her subjects radiates a truly personal and intimate intention.

“I painted on several pieces at once, constantly changing stroke and unafraid after months of applications to erase it all completely” she explains. “I know when the ‘feeling’ is fully expressed. Models posed and I erased their bodies, painting from the image they left in my memory.” The resulting works burst with bold color and defined strokes that span a profusion of densities. Today, they live in a new form. 

Another parallel of inverse quality cements Maria’s connection to her first muse. Bacon abandoned interior design to paint after seeing a Picasso exhibition that revealed to him the “possibilities of painting.” Maria, in comparison, paused painting after visiting Bacon to pursue a career in interior design.

Appreciating the contradistinctions of artistic lives is inherent to Bacon’s insistence that “in order to understand what made a certain painter…see if he managed to add something, even if its almost nothing, to the long chain of those who have practiced the art in which he expresses himself.” As we depart from gender-dominant pronouns and critical mimicry of the men who have defined fine art, we are discovering a mirrored herstory of the women who make art. 

This is the first public showcase of Maria’s art. We’re excited for the possibilities of what she makes next. 

Maria Lopez (b. 1960) arrived in London from the Canary Islands at six months-old. She earned a BA in Languages at University College London and left for New York at age 18 to attend Parsons School of Design, where she graduated with a BFA Environmental Design. Currently, Maria enjoys developing her creative practice through interior design and spending time with her one beautiful son, Max. 

Chinatown Soup