The politics of painting is the foundation of Pacheco’s practice, making painting the principal medium in which Pacheco’s works are conceived and his primary subject. Despite breaking with traditional modes of depiction and display, thus challenging the sacrality and hierarchy tied to classical painting, many of Pacheco’s works also relate to motives derived from classical painting, blondie, 2021 being no exception. The painting is inspired by a Roman sculpture of a wounded Amazon, a figure from Greek mythology, portrayed in a number of ancient and epic poems. Amazons were people of female warriors and hunters, who matched men in physical agility, strength, and arts of combat, but maintained many female physical features. The painting depicts only a fragment of the sculpture rendering its gender and identity ambiguous while creating an associative bridge with Bruce Nauman’s head sculptures, an emblematic work of American Conceptualism.
Pacheco’s appropriation and treatment of the motive look at the construction and appropriation of subject matter throughout history. By borrowing motives from different parts of art history, Pacheco looks at how the painterly gesture, the color pallet, composition, or fragmentation influence narrative construction and how images are depicted and perceived through time. By abstracting the motive from its initial context, enlarging, and distorting it, by removing some of its elements, or juxtaposing it against another image, Pacheco points to the impermanence of painting, where interpretation and a work’s reading is in constant flux. It is based on an associative chain, where one thing leads to another, and where content is created through rhizomatic structures, rather than through a linear approach to narrative.