The paintings of Cynthia Cruz are maximalist phantasmagoric scenes populated by weird bodies, alien creatures, and lots of decorative patterns. They are trippy, psychedelic images not entirely unlike those produced through Google's Deep Dream Generator. "The marks look as if they are created digitally but they are not," she explained in a 2017 interview. "I am interested in the conversation between painting techniques and digital techniques." Throughout Cruz's work run undercurrents of the surreal and the sinister, like "fictitious scenes that inhabit the border between humor and terror."
In Blue Askew (2019) we see a network of webbed patterns embedded with geode shapes framing flat areas of an otherworldly blue. The forms here are organic and corporeal, like an anatomical illustration of a microscopic bit of flesh. "I am mostly interested in medical imagery," Cruz says. "They make me aware of my body, my insides, and my temporality."
Collective (2018) feels like a geological cross-section filled with disembodied faces connected by a stream of tiny pebble shapes. The stream can be seen as the cultural flattening produced by platform capitalism where 140 characters is just as accessible to a white supremacist in their basement as a white supremacist in the Oval Office. The painting foregrounds a conversation around the differences between collectives, masses, and mobs and the expressionless faces present us with the ambivalence of an imagined present or future.
Intergalactic Attack (2018) shows a frenetic network of shapes and patterns foregrounded by a tomato with a face exhaling a fleshy form that is menacingly wielding a mass of eyeballs over the tomato. The self-destructive loop depicted here could be understood as a metaphor for contemporary sousveillance— as if we are being crushed under the weight of the data we've voluntarily relinquished.