A subtle interplay between standard portraiture and Mexican folk art can be seen in the paintings made by Sandra Nitchie. Working in acrylics and oils on canvas, Nitchie creates works that capture the iconic nature of her subjects (Marilyn, Elvis, Princess Diana, etc.) while also turning them into images that reflect Mexico’s culture. In each painting, the subject is seen wearing the “La Catrina” mask associated with the Day of the Dead celebrations. The bright colors and ornate patterns of those masks at times incorporate aspects of the subject’s personality, but they also serve to tie each image to a sense of tradition and history.
Nitchie also sees her work as an investigation into the nature of identity. “The tension created between the famous face and the mask may evoke deeper questions about who we really are,” she says. With a clear sense of line and composition as well as a keen eye for the expressive possibilities of color, the artist makes her investigation a multi-layered, challenging experience. Nitchie lives and works in her own gallery in Bucerías, a town on Mexico’s Pacific coast.