In Mixtape, JO-HS Tribeca gallery becomes a tuning space where Floria González’s paintings resonate with her favorite music, spanning different eras and styles, including music by David Bowie, M. Ward, Jarvis Cocker, as well as bluegrass acoustic and folk compositions by Overture, Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet, Béla Fleck, Ben Sollee, and Casey Diressen. Founded by Elisabeth Johs in 2020, JO-HS is a global gallery specializing in emerging contemporary art, initially launched in Mexico City and expanded to New York earlier this year—González is one of the Mexican artists they are introducing to the New York market.
González’s work illustrates that music has the quality to evoke immediate reactions, stimulating our senses and igniting our imagination. As a dancer and choreographer González established a deep relationship to music, one which later led her to design music albums. In this series, the artist’s playlist inspired her to portray a myriad of scenarios, particularly women as they navigate the diverse stages of life. They revel in their freedom and immerse themselves in a variety of emotions. While the background of the paintings mirrors the mood of the songs, some of the depicted figures embody the lyrical narratives.
The work’s connection between melody and image invites viewers to imagine the music coming to life on each canvas. Atmosphere, James Blake (2023) –a contemporary cover of Joy Division– is Inspired by vintage imagery of musicians in the United States and Europe. In this work, a young girl is intimately entwined with her stringed instrument, portraying her passion for music. The brushstrokes in the background reveal a spontaneous and evocative gestural quality, from which lilac and gray hues emerge, adding depth and texture to the composition. The lilac is concentrated at the bottom of the image, providing a sense of solidity. The woman’s seemingly closed eyes paradoxically exude strength, while her warm lips suggest sensuality and tenderness. A captivating juxtaposition arises with the dress, where white accents provide a luminous contrast against the copper background. The thicker white touches on her shoulders, arms, V-shaped neckline, forehead, and nose not only emphasize her presence but also draw the eye to the crown of her head, where her blonde hair gracefully parts. In this detail, we find her delicate head gently resting on the brown violin’s neck, forging an ethereal connection between musician and instrument as if they are one.
González’s deep affinity for animals is clear in her work as she meticulously paints every hair and the reflections in their eyes. In Girls, Death in Vegas (2023), an intriguing scene unfolds on a soft white foreground with delicate pink undertones. A fearless woman takes center stage, mounted on the back of a black horse. The contrast between the horse’s serenity and the woman’s resolute posture hints at a journey filled with determination and purpose. Her windswept hair and the firm grip on the horse’s mane convey a sense of adventure, while simultaneously reflecting her command over the equine companion. The sinuous lines in the composition capture the very essence of wind and movement in the air, further adding to the artwork’s captivating dynamism. This harmonious union represents a liberating feminine adventure.
In A Soft Seduction, David Byrne, (2023), vibrant red roses burst forth from the lush green grass, framing a woman wearing a bold crimson attire. The brunette finds herself in a moment that oscillates between a tender embrace and an intense confrontation with the dominant tiger. The composition is further accentuated by the towering palm trees and distant silhouetted foliage, enhancing the verticality of the piece and drawing attention to the commanding presence of the tiger, whose fixed gaze remains locked onto the woman. Her legs vanish amidst the profusion of flower stems, creating a sense of weightlessness. The expressions on both the woman’s and the tiger’s faces exude a palpable strength, enveloping the scene in an atmosphere of restrained yet pulsating tension. The painting’s dynamism belies its ability to capture a moment that transcends time, in keeping with its evocative title—a deliberate and alluring dance of seduction, frozen for eternity.
González believes that music has the power to transport us to unforeseen and imaginary worlds. In Mixtape, a synergy emerges between the musician interpreting music and the painter narrating stories of freedom and expressing emotions that were once hidden.
Floria González: Mixtape is open through November 15th at JO-HS Gallery on 121 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013.
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Emireth Herrera Valdés (born in Saltillo, Mexico) is an independent curator and writer based in New York. She is published in Brooklyn Rail, ArteFuse, ISLAA's VISTAS, and Cultbytes. Herrera has worked in the education department of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Hispanic Society of America Museum and Library, and New York University. Currently, Herrera is involved in organizing the creation of murals in the city of New York as part of the Arts in Medicine department at New York City Health and Hospitals. Herrera holds an M.A. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU and a B.A. in Architecture from the Autonomous University of Coahuila.