Marina Cruz's return to painting brings a new sequence to her investigation of remembrance and meaning. The objects in them form a kind of portraiture: she composes the dress then arranges them as one would normally a sitter. She transforms the thing (the actual dress) into an object (the painting of the dress), but retains the referencing and hinting to some fifty years past of backstory. While the tailored source is intended to underscore the similarities between the twins—the intricate drapery, the weathering of the applique, the tears in the embellishment and skirt details, the few inches of difference in sizes, ironically defeats this and points to their uniqueness. This entails an unfolding of a story. It's as if these were portents to a biography.
From treasured heirlooms that serve as Cruz's well of inspiration; a focus characteristic blooms and from there begins diffusing the mystique upon her now orphaned objects. She dwells on the surviving artifact and leaves little trace of narrative in her portrayed "sitters," for she paints essence rather than likeness, to a point that one need not attach a face to the garment. Crucial is her capability to inflict a transferred imagination upon each subject, concentrating on the depiction of a mood, of an absence or presence, rather than mere illustration. The unsettling nature of Marina Cruz's images is further emphasized by a shift in palette from the dark tones of her previous work, where saturated blues and pinks and browns now serve to a nostalgic effect.
The artist presents her exploration between life and after life of these objects. While uncovering their significance, the painting process like one's recollection is often faintly trailed. Advancing a recognized lexis of portraiture, Marina Cruz has taken in her embroidered footnotes as part and parcel rather than contained merely in the catalog as supplement.
Aside from this, Duplicity is a theme that abounds her oeuvres. Among a lot of things, these are tailored dresses of her mother and her twin. Also, the outer and inner sides of the dress are reference to the meaning that is seen by another and what is actually felt by the wearer. These are mere points of departure rather than the actual subject. Perhaps most importantly is the betrayal of the source by its meaning as soon as it is transformed to a painting. Part of her new body of work, the artist's austere background also serves to highlight the emotional and sensory corpus of each subject.
Marina Cruz isolates her subjects to pursue their stories. This instinctive sense expands into the gloomy space of their background, where they are secluded in their own world. The surrounding aura is likewise important to that of the figure located within it. Her treatment of the background creates a set-up of simultaneous detachment and disclosure, whereby the background is flat and removed of any discernible place. The painting is an apparition, where figure and the contiguous still realm harmonize in identical portions, in which the painting—like the twin dresses and the lives that used to own them—became incarnate in our imagination. This evidence of the object's past life is the primary narrative.