Alejandra Moros at Spinello Projects

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Under the small lens of a microscope, the largest human organ becomes vast and terraneous. The skin’s barely perceptible features become outsized: Wrinkles are mountainous, tiny puncture wounds look like caves, and flaky patches resemble the leaves of prehistoric flora. An unsuspecting viewer could be forgiven for assuming the palm of a hand or a section of cheek were landscapes.

In Alejandra Moros’s oil paintings, that is exactly what happens. The artist often renders her subjects in such extreme close-up that their scale and contours become deliberately, surreally indeterminate: Are those decussate patterns the wrinkles of a finger? Is that the whorl of an ear, or the interior of a seashell? In one picture is an unsated mosquito, but upon what or whom has it landed? “Tip of the Tongue, Bridge of the Nose,” the title of Moros’s show at Spinello Projects, references the people and everyday objects she paints, but they are utterly transformed. Her hyperrealistic canvases are based on photographs of herself and sundry intimates, as we see in a picture of a fingernail caressing the bead of a necklace (From Above, all works 2023), or a few strands of hair traversing an ear (Bone To Pick). Indeed, her subjects are unknown to us—but the care with which she renders them is obvious and palpable.

In these works, Moros utilizes a fairly monochromatic palette of blues, greens, grays, and a sunset pink, then smooths her surfaces out with a dry brush. The effect produces a soft haze: Similar to that moment of closing your eyes before leaning in for the kiss, when you become so near to someone that the boundaries separating your bodies become strangely and beautifully indistinct. People are frequently mysterious—even those we hold closest to our hearts. But, as Moros makes undeniably clear, the deep affections that bind us to others, even in the tiniest of moments, can feel as big as the world.

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