My work and investigations focus on the female existence within established concepts of beauty. Through a variety of media it discovers, exposes, and challenges aesthetic standards that create familiar archetypes, and presents visual realities that both invite and defy aesthetic expectations. My art records the damage that pervasive beauty canons and limited definitions of these create in a group and in an individual’s perception of body, beauty, and self worth. It documents countervailing declarations of beauty and historical shifts in standards and their subjectivity. It explores a series of visual commonalities– aesthetic systems within a class, culture, or social structure. In my immersive surveys of communities of different classes of women, I observe the varying definitions of beauty that form collectively and organically, or are passed down inter-generationally despite prevailing global standards.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Maria Raquel Cochez (Panama 1978) is an artist known for her extensive work on the female existence within established concepts of beauty. Her focus is on discovering, exposing, and challenging aesthetic standards that create familiar archetypes. Her socially engaged practice invites and defies aesthetic expectations and paradigms. She works in a variety of mediums including video, photography, and painting. Cochez has had numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally. Her work is included in permanent collections such as Savannah College of Art and Design, Ortiz-Gurdián Center for Contemporary Art in Nicaragua, Casa Santa Ana Foundation in Panama. Cochez has won various awards and grants, including, Honors Award from Savannah College of Art and Design, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, NYC, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Grant, Artist Relief Grant, Artist in Residence, Kultur Kontakt, Vienna, Austria, among others. Her work has been published in ArtPulse Magazine, Divorce, Panamanian Style, Jumps and Shifts in Art from Panama: 1990- 2015, Art Nexus, Centro América en Acción (a book about performance art in Central America) and other international publications. In 2010, 2013, and 2016 Cochez represented Panama in the Central American Biennial. She has been a guest lecturer and taught workshops internationally. She received a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Fibers from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2002 and and her work has a strong presence in the Central American region as well as internationally.