Juxtapoz Magazine Kristy Morno and “The Company We Keep”.
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OCHIWe are pleased to present The Company We KeepNew work by artist Kristy Mooney. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The Company We KeepThe new ceramic vessels, wall works, and figures celebrate female friendship, sisterhood, chosen community, and the power of choice. Moreno creates worlds where female protagonists can express their individuality and explore the world together. She blends elements of SoCal Latinx Culture with the sugary aesthetics and retro-futuristic fashion of the late 1990s. Deeply influenced by the diverse voices emerging from various D.I.Y. subcultures such as punk pioneer Poly Styrene, multidisciplinary artist Margaret Kilgallen, and authors adrienne maree brown and Gloria Anzaldúa, Moreno’s ceramic characters band together in the face of oppression, chaos, and harm as they echo the ethos of self-sufficiency and empower one another with an eye toward speculative futures.
Moreno creates voluminous vessels by intuitively drawing into the clay surface. He fits figures like a bioorganic, carved out details, and adds shape as required. Moreno creates friends who embrace, link arms and pose back-toback. They also offer gestures of comfort and affection. Absent of solitary figures, The Company We Keep proffers abundance and solidarity—Moreno’s young women always have someone to stand up for and to stand with. While clay vessels traditionally stored or served food and liquids, Moreno’s vessels hold her figures together—asking the viewer to physically circumnavigate each sculpture in order to observe the full scope of love and style embodied by each group.
Though Moreno’s protagonists are always together, they are individually distinguishable as fashionistas, endlessly borrowing from an array of historical sources—midcentury Chicanx lowrider culture; 1950s beehive updos; the bold geometric prints of Moreno’s mother’s wardrobe from the 1980s; contemporary punk visor sunglasses; and 1990s Chola staples like nameplate jewelry. Featuring sassy or subversive phrases, many of Moreno’s characters don earrings emblazoned with terms of endearment like MIJA (my daughter), CHULA (cute), or CHINGONA (bad ass woman) and exclamations of personal boundaries such as NOT YOURS or GO AWAY. Soft pastel colors pair well with hard stares and sharp attitudes—Moreno’s girls wear their hearts on their sleeves. Moreno creates a world that pushes cuteness past the commodifiable. She also creates space for people to care for each other and themselves.