by Alyssa Laube
Carolina de la Cajiga doesn’t call herself an artist but an “illusionist and interpreter”. To describe what she does in photography, sculpture, and painting, she explains “I create illusions by transforming my ideas into something tangible”.
Her vision is different than reality, she “adds or removes from what is there” in order to feel satisfied with the finished product. In her Portraits of Canada and Canadian Divas series, she replaced hair with flowers. In Post-Modern Glyphs, she removed the backgrounds surrounding her subject: cable knots. What used to be behind – buildings, clouds, trees – was digitally cleared away in order to obtain a clean image with only the knots visible. “My goal is simple: to represent what I see in my mind. “It’s all aesthetics, beauty,” said de la Cajiga.
Over the past few years, her work has been focused mostly on photography but, as anything she does, it is her own kind of photography. Her most recent series is “shooting dynamic light that lasts atto seconds (the smallest unit to measure the speed of light).” De la Cajiga takes hundreds of shots and carefully picks the ones she believes have the most potential. What follows is a multi hour-long process that turns those photos into de la Cajiga’s vision for the piece through the use of various methods and computer programs. “The result is a photograph that asks the audience to question whether [parts of] it ever existed -what you see is not what is, but what your mind sees… “The more of these shots I process, the more complex and intricate the images are turning out to be.” Not finding a term to describe her technique, she coined the word “Katharosgraphy” from the Greek Katharos = to scratch, to clean, to purify, and Graphy = process. Coincidentally, Katharos also means oak tree which is what Cajiga, her last name, means. At the Art World Expo, she will be exhibiting this series of work.
Many of her other works also play with altering reality. The series, City In Flux, is based on illusion and “bend[ing] architectural protocols”. Here, she twists and morphs Vancouver buildings. In What If ? she places Las Soldaderas (“civilian women who made significant contributions to both the federal and rebel armies during the Mexican Revolution of 1910”) into other important events throughout history. Even in her photography of everyday life, such as Construction – Workers, Lifting of Backhoe, Invisible in Neon, and Rain City, she added or deleted components that are unidentifiable to the public eye. Only de la Cajiga knows what did and did not exist in the moment when the photo was captured. The audience is left to wonder.
Carolina will be part of the “Love in Any Language” exhibition at the Ferry Building Gallery in West Vancouver, 1414 Argyle Avenue, West Vancouver, February 2 – 21, 2016. The opening reception will be February 2, 6 – 8 pm, and Meet the Artists is on February 6, 2 -3 pm.
You will also be able to see her work and catch up with De la Cajiga at her new studio at the 195 Pemberton Studios bustling artist community in North Vancouver.
Take a look at Carolina de la Cajiga’s collections yourself on her website. Better still, see them in person at this year’s Vancouver Art World Expo. She is in the process of finalizing a new website, http://www.delacajigafineart.com, to display the Katharosgraphy artwork. Stay tuned!