The Magical Other by Barbara Rachko
The Domestic Threats series of pastel-on-sandpaper paintings use Mexican folk art—masks, carved wooden animals, paper mâché figures, and toys—in a lively blend of reality and fantasy. On trips to central Mexico, I spend much of my time in the local mask shops, markets, and bazaars searching for the figures that will later populate my paintings. I enjoy the fact that I take objects with a unique Mexican past—most have been used in various religious festivals—and give them a second life, so to speak, in New York in the present. When I return home, I read prodigiously and find out as much about them as I can. I use these objects not only as surrogates for human actors, but as potent symbols: an amalgam of childhood memories, half-forgotten dreams, and images encountered in literature, pre-Columbian art, and cinema (especially German silent films and movies by Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles). This work has been evolving for more than a decade. The imagery is autobiographical and very personal but has universal associations.