This week we welcome Guido Garaycochea. Garaycochea was born in Lima, Peru, where he studied art at the Escuela Nacional Superior de Bellas Artes del Perú. In 1992, he moved to Chile and continued his studies there, receiving a bachelor’s degree in aesthetics and later a master’s degree in history and theory of art. He taught art for many years in Chilean universities before moving to the United States, where he received a second master’s degree at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Garaycochea went on to teach at Mitchell College, University of Connecticut, TTCC and York Correctional Institution in Connecticut.
Garaycochea was a co-founder of Expressiones Cultural Center in New London, Connecticut, in 2009. The nonprofit organization promotes understanding between the Anglo and Hispanic communities through the arts to bridge cultural differences and showcase Latin American arts and culture. As curator of the artist residency at Expressions, he has promoted and encouraged the careers of numerous Latin American artists.
Garaycochea splits his time working as the New New Yorkers program manager at the Queens Museum, while keeping his artistic practice alive in his Manhattan studio at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and participating in various exhibitions.
“I question concepts that relate to sex, gendered representation and nudity and aspects of gender-nonconformity and the societal pressures and imposition of masculinity and manhood. It also looks at how the queer body has had to heal and survive aspects of the status quo, impacted by capitalism and worldwide power dynamics,” Garaycochea says. “I am interested in the normalized, binary construction of gender, assigned at birth based solely on body parts. My collages/mixed media/paintings deconstruct preconceived and traditional categorizations of gender, pushing the viewer to expand their minds and consider new ones. It requires many hours of work, not only to find the necessary images and build a story with them. The cut-out images that I appropriate and work with are placed in backgrounds to work with my brushes and oil colors. Transparent layers of oil paint are placed one over the other, perfecting the depth effects’ lights and shadows.
By appropriating, cutting, pasting and repainting images from popular culture, I create new narratives in my current practice. The scenes in my collages showcase dialogues between fictional characters, similar to children’s stories when they play with dollhouses. Characters perform their sexual and gendered identities for the public in a small, self-contained space resembling a theater, looking for acceptance. They all have something to say. At times, they mutter taboo ideas, gossip and secrets.”