My work intentionally invites content; the materiality acts as a conduit of meaning. For me, the verbing of craft is a way to challenge the distinction between the disciplinary histories of painting, textiles, & design. I am dedicated to considering how craft is a way of thinking and producing works of art. In so doing, am interested in how mobilizing handcrafts reminds us of the intimate tactile origins of early modernism and reframes the monumental displays of late modernism. I acknowledge my work questions its own mythology and history. I reference the cultural sampling of the Database, the structural forms of Modernism, grand narratives of Romanticism, & pictorial space of Medieval works.

-Diana Guerrero-Maciá 2016


Diana Guerrero-Maciá’s fabric collages are simultaneously nostalgic for, and reminiscent of, radical artistic activities throughout the twentieth century, ranging from manifesto writing and Russian Suprematism to guitar smashing and punk rock. Working in a variety of styles, graphics, shapes and bold color schemes, her works embody spirited rebellion, outsider status, and the pervasive sense of tribalism that often marks group identity. The “us vs. them” oppositions inherent to small communities are often expressed visually, for instance, in the patches that convey belonging in a diverse cross-section of the populace: bikers, scouts, punks, veterans, and protesters.  Guerrero-Maciá similarly employs this patchwork aesthetic in two ways: first, as a formal strategy, using textile techniques to give texture and depth to matte cloth surfaces, which naturally absorb light, and secondly, as a form of cultural sampling, borrowing and reinvigorating symbols largely through an abstract vocabulary of stitching, dyeing, pinning and cutting. Their mash-up surfaces reference psychedelic and free love 1960s memorabilia, hard-edged painting, and Soviet 1970s-era posters, which championed allegiance to the socialist cause.

-Jenni Sorkin {excerpt from threewalls catalogue, 2012} Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art, material culture, craft & design, UC Santa Barbara


Diana Guerrero-Maciá’s pictures need a lot of room; their commanding simplicity demands it.  Like color-field painting beset upon by advertising graphics, Guerrero-Maciá’s strips of cool color and swirls of Op design back up crisp vernacular text.   The words in Guerrero-Maciá’s pictures work more as form than language, punctuating big flat color areas with line, shape, and hue, and adjusting the weight of the picture’s composition.  Content draws from that happy occurrence of “Significant Form” (Clive Bell, Art, 1914) that so defined an aspect of modernism, and yet these are works clearly of their age.  They are not pigment on canvas, but hand-stitched pieces of leather, ultra suede, and vinyl. Guerrero-Maciá is a cool customer whose hipster materials traffic in the world of modernism, but whose labor of sewing undercuts the masculine assumptions that modernism so often engendered.

-Lisa Wainwright {excerpt from catalogue essay, 2004} Art Historian & Dean of The School of The Art Institute of Chicago


What radicalizes all of Guerrero-Maciá’s work may be the way she re-attaches mediated text and imagery to her own subjectivity. One of the initial problems of capitalism noted by Marx was the loosened connection workers had to the commodities they produced, while simultaneously severing from consumers all connection to the labor involved in production. Guerrero-Maciá demonstrates a corrective measure by plucking references from across media and art history, then subjecting those references to her artisanal studio practice that embodies every element, whether pop song or modernist shape, with a renewed aura. Or perhaps the lasting impact of Guerrero-Maciá’s work is her refusal to accept the entrenched “either/or” binaries circulating throughout culture. She does not have to choose painting or fibers, when she can have command of both. She does not have to choose between formal severity or kitsch playfulness when she harnesses the best qualities of both. And she does not have to segregate those aspects of her work that are personal from those that are cultural. It is clear that the culture is within her (whether early Renaissance portraiture or The Clash songbook) at the same time that she is producing within it.

-Craig Drennan {excerpt from catalogue essay, 2008} Artist & Dean of Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture


Guerrero-Maciá’s historical prototypes are the needlework samplers made by schoolgirls in the 18th and 19th centuries. Combining images of plants, animals, houses, alphabets, numerals, aphorisms, and poetry, all rendered with folk-art simplicity and wistful charm (or, in a less flattering light, Victorian sentimentality), they evidence a desire for order and composure in uncertain times. Not so, however, with these contemporary works that combine painting, typography and graphic design – with everything transposed, in the artist’s words, into “hand-sewn thickly textured layers of fabric … that is hand-cut and appliquéd on raw canvas.” Poetry, street signage, rock music lyrics, movie quotations, scavenged fabric, and, of course, modernist abstractions jostle and commingle.

-Dewitt Chang {excerpt from exhibition review, 2010} Writer East Bay Express


Guerrero-Maciá’s material investigations of the visceral qualities of lush fabrics result in patchworks that slowly reveal themselves as tightly choreographed compositions guided by her fixation on various genealogies of popular culture. Music, sports, fashion, entertainment, and literature are all fodder to be spliced into tangible sound bytes, which are then rendered graphically in such a manner that exploits the myriad permutations to which language is inevitably subjected in the processes of reception and interpretation.  With a distinct understanding of language as a dynamic matrix—especially its undeniable power to both inform and confound—Guerrero-Maciá pursues those instances where she can press incongruous, familiar, or even banal snippets into the realm of the transcendental.  Focusing on messages and phrases from sources such as lyrics, press clippings, and colloquial speech, she rescues the specific elements piquing her interest and devotion by isolating and recontextualizing them in an anagrammatic process that resembles the sampling now ubiquitous to popular forms of electronic music. Hybridism dominates this scavenged new terrain and Guerrero-Maciá proves that acts of appropriation are more often than not forms of resurrection.  Her indulgence takes the form of generosity by inflating fleeting bits of popular culture and parading them in new contexts designed to illuminate the universal values they represent. Ephemera is handled with the care of an archivist in her personal library and given material form by the act of stitching as a methodical and compulsive means to enact desire.  With the open-endedness and nuance of language being conveyed by layers and textures of fabric and thread, Guerrero-Maciá is able to create works in which meaning and materiality are inseparable.

-Paul Brewer {excerpt from catalogue essay, 2008} Writer, Curator, and emeritus Director of The Project, NYC