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The Snake Sings Backwards, Astrid Terrazas

The snake sings backwards is a solo exhibition by Astrid Terrazas at Lodos Gallery. Working in an illustrative, highly detailed style and often adorning her canvases with talismans, charms, and threadwork, Terrazas’ multimedia paintings resemble a visual dream diary full of transient figures, archaic symbols, and illogical narratives. Wielding a singular visual language which merges dreamscapes, Mexican ancestral folklore, lived experiences, and unearthly transfigurations, Terrazas’s recurring motifs function as artifacts of protection and evoke universal metaphors of transformation and healing.

In The snake sings backwards, Terrazas presents a new series of paintings and ceramic sculptures that together create a sacred space which honors duality and ideals of empathy and reciprocity. Informed by the geography of her childhood, Terrazas contends with borders both physical and psychological. Born in Juarez, Mexico, Terrazas as a child viewed the Mexican American border as fluid, porous, and arbitrary. This relationship was abruptly halted when, at the age of seven, Terrazas and her parents relocated to Dallas, Texas. In the largescale painting I have uneasy footing and the saddle is threadbare, 2024 Terrazas allegorizes the experience of straddling two worlds. Referencing Mexican devotional imagery, Terrazas depicts a monumental skinned figure floating above the earth holding two banners with her white braids. The figure on the left symbolizes the artist’s childhood in Mexico and can be viewed as the “builder” of Terrazas’s foundation. Her banner is filled by a blossoming orange tree that roots into her braid and then into the earth, while the figure on the right is still weaving her banner, the bottom of which is left empty with the promise of the future. The twin figures are tethered by a central transparent saddle, which symbolizes guidance, agency, and acts a portal for safe travel between borders.

Alongside the paintings, Terrazas includes two hand built ceramic fountains which face towards each other from opposite sides of the exhibition space. Challenging traditional power structures which control the flow of water, the sister fountains metaphorically replenish themselves, revealing the individual’s capacity for reciprocity and regeneration. Terrazas’s interest in water is specifically tied to her relationship to the Rio Grande, a natural divide between the United States and Mexico. Works such as Mi Rostro, 2024 serves as a self-portrait of the artist, each section building upon and resupplying the next. In both sculptures, Terrazas reveals how individuals can take on the power of a fountain and become sites of radical empathy and abundant replenishment.