Marina Cruz

“I find myself referencing personal objects, particularly fabric, clothing, dresses from my own family archive. My works meditate on the ideas of aging, leavings, markings, vulnerabilities and imperfections, things that are all unavoidable. I like to explore domestic spaces and belongings at the same time look into what makes a space a home, what makes us feel we belong.” -Marina Cruz

In paintings known for their hyper-realistic rendering, Filipino contemporary artist Marina Cruz presents nostalgic paintings of vintage dresses that are emotional meditations on a person’s life and history. In meticulous, complex arrangements, Cruz focuses on creases, patterns, and stitches to complete nuanced portraits of antique dresses. She considers this an act of paying tribute to her family’s history as well as legacies of women sewers and fashion icons in her life including her grandmother, her mother, and her aunt.

Cruz’s characterization of the quaint garments she paints represent the essence of its wearer as we see traces of use through their respective era. Her source materials are hand sewn dresses retrieved from her own family’s memorabilia. Cruz’s incredibly tuned hyperreal style is drawn from her inspiration of the wistful qualities of weathered personal clothing as well as it does to the slippery silk and satin folds of the fabric. Additionally, apart from utilizing craft and technique to produce a painterly effect on her hyperrealistic paintings, she applies the perfect mix of color and hues, blending accurate shadows and lines to explore the materiality of aged textiles. Each work jumps out of the canvas yet, there remains the sentimental and ethereal nature of the painted image.

Marina Cruz is a Filipino contemporary artist who received her BFA in Painting from the University of the Philippines. She has exhibited in notable galleries across the Philippines and has received several awards including the Ateneo Art Awards and the grand prize of the Philippines Art Awards in 2008. She was also awarded the Freeman Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center in 2008, and the Thirteen Artists Award in 2012. In 2021, she mounted her first major museum solo show in the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts in Taipei, Taiwan. Cruz also works with installation, sculpture, and print.