A Very Serious Gallery is thrilled to announce Anima: The Feral Femme, Cristi López’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Her sold-out debut solo exhibition in 2023, Unravel: Portraits Of My Obsessions, chronicled the artist’s experience with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder through a series of paintings that went far beyond stereotypical media portrayals of the condition. Unravel rendered an honest and complex portrait of the artist’s intimate relationship with her mental health.

Anima picks up where Unravel left off, this time exploring mental health through the allegory of human/animal connection. In Latin, anima roughly translates to “the animating principle, soul, or spirit.” The figures’ interactions with animals serve as a metaphor for how we choose to interact with our own thoughts: whether to confront, hide from, disregard, nurture, tame, or set them free. How we engage with our thoughts, particularly those that are unwanted or disturbing, is foundational to mental and emotional well-being.

Alongside her continued exploration of mental health, López’s work is characterized by raw and expansive feminine expression. The show title Anima is a nod to the work of early 20th century Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, specifically his concept of the unconscious feminine psyche. His theories of psychological androgyny and gender archetypes ushered in more nuanced dialogue around gender to the Western psychological canon. The inclusion of animal subjects in Anima serves to explore the richness and complexity of López’s own experience of femininity.

Every animal portrayed in Anima has particular significance to the artist. Her multicultural experience, Latin American roots, sexuality, and Catholic upbringing are all referenced, oscillating between veneration and subversion of the aforementioned subjects. In Catholic iconography, the serpent is often portrayed as being stepped on by the Virgin Mary, the archetypal divine feminine. This is a classic portrayal of God conquering Satan. In Serpentine, López portrays a lesbian couple wrapped in snakes. The serpents are sublimated, integrated into the unapologetically nude, entwined female figures.

The viewer is invited to imbue each piece with their own perception, serving as the animating principle, or anima, for the series as a whole. The allegorical, surreal, and often abstracted elements of López’s paintings are meant to encourage this fluidity of interpretation.

Anima: The Feral Femme will be on display from May 10 - June 2, 2024, at A Very Serious Gallery, located at 673 N Milwaukee Ave. For press & collector information, contact Allan Weinberger at allan@veryseriousgallery.com.