Self-introspection has always been a distinctive trait of Vanessa Vilchis’ art and personality. However, when her mother passed away suddenly in 2014, her work experienced a profound shift. As a way to process her grief and make sense of this tragedy, she began to explore the themes of death, decay, and the transient nature of the human flesh. She looks for her mother in every model she paints, imagining how she would have aged, if she were still alive. Her style is realistic, drawing inspiration from the dramatic illumination of tenebrist painters. The ineluctability of physical deterioration is evidenced in the meticulous depiction of wrinkles, blemishes, spots, and protruding veins. Yet, her message is one of beauty, which is revealed in the grace and wisdom of those who are nearing the end. In her self-portraits she examines the transitions experienced by her own body, which are further deepened by her practice as an aerial silks performer. Her mediums of choice are oil and acrylic paints, although she also utilizes watercolor and gouache as well as dry media, such as graphite, pastels, and charcoal.
Originally from Mexico City, Vilchis studied fine arts at the Instituto Botticelli para el Arte y la restauración and earned a Master’s Degree in Arts and Culture Management from the Rome Business School. She has exhibited in the United States and Germany, where she currently resides. A gymnast and painter of unparalleled dedication and passion, she dives audaciously into the innermost reaches of her body, mind, and soul.