The latest series from Albuquerque artist Caitlin Carcerano is centered on the locus of self-care and vulnerability: the bathtub.
Supine against the porcelain of a bathtub, pastel tiles girding her subjects, gauzy water, and gazes cast out of frame, the work of Caitlin Carcerano evokes narrative. There is indeed something evocative about the bathroom, the tub up to the brim with pale water. Think of every movie scene in which someone has locked themselves away in a bathroom or dunks, dramatically, beneath the water at the tub’s surface. Even Sylvia Plath wrote pensive lines about the act of bathing. Whether it is the often doleful expression of her bathers or the comic book-quality of the execution, it’s easy for the viewer to drop in and fill in the storyline gaps when it comes to viewing Carcerano’s work.
Her latest series is centered on that locus of self-care and vulnerability, the bathtub. As the artist herself puts it, “the tension between feeling secure and feeling exposed.” In blended, illustrative strokes in a palate of primary colors made balmy and muted, the viewer is in a privileged position, peeking in on a private moment. Yet, the style sidesteps darkness and makes the material relatable, as though part of our story as well.
Hailing from El Paso, Texas, and now residing in Albuquerque, Carcerano graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2017 and has shown her work locally (516 Arts, the Harwood Art Center, Zendo Art + Espresso) and farther afield (Art Dubai). It is from the storied Harwood Art Center that she creates her figurative work, most often in oil on canvas.
Are these sites of healing and solitude, or withdrawal? There is a tension and an orientation we bring with us to these works that add to their quality—their habitat and its contents like folded out illustrations from a book. In her artist statement, Carcerano says that there is an autobiographical tack to the work, which underlines that quality of vulnerability. Bringing these private scenes to public spaces is an offering in the name of quietude. After all, our lives are often most profound in the moments when we are most vulnerable—alone with ourselves, and just as importantly, with others.
Albuquerque, NM | caitlincarcerano.com | ig: @caitlin_faith