'Margarita Cabrera: Maquila'

Visual arts review

Arts Review

"Margarita Cabrera: Maquila"

Women & Their Work, through Nov. 12

Margarita Cabrera's show is filled with soft, stuffed sculptures of everyday household objects, appealingly floppy pieces rendered in bright, cheerful colors. Threads dangle from their seams, indicating a more personal sense of craftsmanship, a certain mammalian warmth in contrast to the smooth finish we would typically expect from these items. Soft parts are juxtaposed with hard for structure and for textural contrast, as in Batter Mixer, which combines real mixer blades with the soft stuffed parts. The comparison with Claes Oldenburg's stuffed sculptures is inevitable, but the scale of Cabrera's work is certainly more human, and her concepts appear more populist in nature.

The first clue to that can be found in the title of the show: It refers to a maquiladora, a factory, usually in Mexico along the border with Texas, that is generally staffed with low-paid female workers. Cabrera pays homage to these laborers, who are responsible for the production of a great many goods we use in this country. Among the products selected as subjects: a vacuum cleaner, a food processor, and a slow cooker – objects traditionally associated with "women's work." The multicolor VOCHO VW Beetle Sedan is a beautifully delicate little work based on a toy car, using elements from the toy as part of the stuffed version. This delightful series of artworks, somewhat sparsely arranged, left me wanting more. Here's hoping that we'll see many more of Cabrera's works in the coming years.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Arts Reviews
'The 2012 Drawing Annual'
Don't let Tiny Park Gallery go without experiencing this exhibit of depth and meaning

Wayne Alan Brenner, May 18, 2012

Arts Review
'Memento Mori'
The three artists showing here exhibit so much sentience, mystery, and grace

Wayne Alan Brenner, April 13, 2012

More by Jacqueline May
Arts Review
'Learning from Local Artists'

April 14, 2006

Arts Review
'Lens: George Krause + Sean Perry'
The exhibition of photographs George Krause and Sean Perry at D Berman Gallery explores a spiritual territory within the pragmatic

Sept. 2, 2005


Margarita Cabrera: Maquila, Women & Their Work

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle