Dina González Mascaró: About Ruminant
by Jennifer Van Evra
They are remote mountains where people go to experience transformation and rebirth — but first, they must navigate through dark, disorienting caves and breathtakingly tight spaces before reaching sacred pools of water and light. Then they must carve their path back out.
Found in Tibet, China and Japan, these so-called “Womb Mountains” were the starting point for Dina González Mascaró’s Ruminant — a series of drawings that explore, in part, the transformation the artist experienced after the deaths of both her father and her mother.
“It’s like my existence is totally different,” she says. “Suddenly, I’m living in Rilke’s explanation of ‘the great sadnesses.’ It came, it passed through me, and it helped me see what is now vital for me. It’s all clear. I know who I am. I know what I want. I know what I need.”
For González Mascaró, the exhibition marks a return to drawing — her earliest artistic impulse — after years focused on highly architectural jewellery, sculpture and painting. The works retain the qualities of those disciplines, among them the sharp perspective and three-dimensionality of sculpture and jewellery and the rich texture of painting. But they cut to the core of González Mascaró’s expression, and reveal key themes — fragility and strength, life and death, family and relationships, loss and rebirth — in a powerfully essential way.
They also strike a precarious balance between structure and collapse, with myriad pieces intricately entangled, both defying and depending upon gravity to hold together. In some works, open caves act as high refuges; in others, spaces are unfolded to reveal a mountain’s interior rooms. Others are tightly layered, but offer tiny spaces where one can enter. Throughout, light and dark interplay. "And if you try to take out one piece it seems like everything will fall,” she says. “But there is a gravity that keeps it all together.”
Ruminant reflects a year that González Mascaró spent “inside the mountain”, where she navigated her own darkness and tight passages, as well as light and calm, and emerged with a changed perspective.
"I wanted to go inside the mountain using drawing as a meditation, simply to be and to endure that profound sadness,” she says. “And in that solitude I experienced what may be my greatest transformation.”