Beyond Frida: 10 Mexican Female Artists You Should Know
Frida Kahlo was a game-changer during her time alive, and almost seven decades after her death, she continues to make history. As you may all have heard by now, her 1949 painting Diego y Yo sold for $34.9 million on the night of November 16th at Sotheby’s New York, setting a new record for the artist and all Latin American artists at auction. As Kahlo’s art market becomes even more competitive, with billionaire collectors waiting patiently for one of her works to hit the market, I have curated a list of contemporary Mexican female artists that are highly talented and deserve your attention.
For this article, I have only focused on artists whose practice includes painting. However, it is essential to mention that some of these artists have practices that encompass a wide range of media, including video, sculpture, photography, and installation aside from painting. From established to emerging artists, this list highlights the artists of today because to be quite frank, there are a lot more artists in Mexico besides the iconic Frida Kahlo.
1. Minerva Cuevas (b.1975, Mexico City)
Minerva Cuevas is a conceptual and socially-engaged artist that investigates the politics and power structures that underlie specific social and economic ties. Her work invites us to rethink the role corporations play in food production and the management of natural resources through the intervention of images and objects of daily consumption. Cuevas’ practice encompasses a variety of mediums, including painting, video, sculpture, photography, and installation.
Cuevas received her BA in Visual Arts at Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Mexico City. In 2004, she was the recipient of the Grant for Media Art of the Foundation of Lower Saxony at the Edith-Russ-Haus. She was artist in residence at the Berliner Künstlerprogramm en Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) in 2003 and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in 1998. Cuevas has exhibited in numerous international solo and group shows, such as Soft Power, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), New York (2019); No Room To Play, DAAD Galerie, Berlin; Disidencia, The Mishkin Gallery, New York (2019); Dissidência (vídeos), Galpao VB, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2018); Down and to the Left: Reflections on Mexico in the NAFTA Era, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, United States (2017); to name a few. She lives and works in Mexico City.
2. Pia Camil (b.1980, Mexico City)
Pia Camil draws inspiration from the urban landscapes of Latin America, engaging with the history of modernism to create paintings, sculptures, performances, and installations. Camil's work is a critical approach to modernism's legacy and the politics of consumerism.
Camil has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK. Her work has been exhibited internationally, with recent solo museum exhibitions including Velo Revelo, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA (2020); Laugh Now, Cry Later at OMR Gallery, Mexico City (2020); Here Comes The Sun, performance at Guggenheim Museum, New York (2019); among others. She lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico.
3. Aliza Nisenbaum (b. 1977, Mexico City)
Aliza Nisenbaum is best-known for her bright, large-scale figurative paintings of marginalized subjects and community groups, such as healthcare workers, undocumented immigrants, and security guards.
Nisenbaum holds a BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited globally and enjoyed shows at Tate Liverpool, MOCA Los Angeles, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the São Paulo Museum of Art. In 2017, she was included in the Whitney Biennial. Nisenbaum lives and works in New York and is a Columbia University's School of the Arts professor.
4. Maria Fragoso (b. 1995, Mexico City)
Born and raised in Mexico City, Maria Fragoso studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, where she received her BFA. Influenced by the style and narratives of Mexican Surrealists and muralists, Fragoso creates work that celebrates her Mexican culture while also addressing notions of gender expression and queer identity.
Since graduating with her BFA, she has exhibited in the USA and Mexico. Her recent exhibitions include Miami is a Beach, 1969 Gallery, New York, NY; A Very Anxious Feeling: Voices of Unrest in the American Experience (20 Years of the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection), Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA; Second Smile, The Hole, NY; New__on the block, Machete, Mexico City; and No Place Like, Field Projects, NY. This year she was featured by Forbes in the “30 Under 30” in the “Art and Style” category. Fragoso lives and works in Mexico City.
5. Floria González (b. 1980, Monterrey)
Floria González is a multidisciplinary artist based in Mexico City. Her practice encompasses photography, video, and painting. Despite the medium in which she creates, the recurring motif across her work is the mystery of humankind. The artist uses surreal characters and metaphoric images, full of color and texture, to portray different subjects, such as the interconnections of all things in the universe or the individual consciousness.
González studied photography and video art in San Antonio, TX, and Mexico City. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions globally.
6. Ana Segovia (b. 1991, Mexico City)
Ana Segovia has ranked among the most significant artists that are shaping the Mexican art scene according to Vogue magazine, Artsy, and Código magazine. Segovia, who received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, explores masculinity and its stereotypes due to socio-cultural constructions.
Segovia has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions such as
Pos’ se acabó este cantar at Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (2021); Normal Exceptions: Contemporary Art in Mexico at Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2021); Otrxs mundxs at Museo Tamayo (Mexico City, 2020); Toy Boy at Galería Karen Huber (Mexico City, 2019); Them at Galerie Perrotin, New York (2019), among others. The artist’s work is part of institutional collections such as the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and Alumnos 47 in Mexico City. Segovia lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico.
7. Hilda Palafox (b. 1982, Mexico City)
Hilda Palafox explores the boundaries of character and composition in a perpetual sense of romanticism through her work. She paints elegant, curvaceous female figures in compositions that envision a matriarchal society. Palafox trained in graphic design and graduated from Escuela de Diseño del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Her work ranges from group shows, brand collaborations, and mural festivals, persevering as one of Mexico's most influential female artists of or time.
8. Rocio Navarro (b. Chihuahua)
Rocio Navarro is an artist based in France who specializes in portraiture painting. Her brightly colored canvases depicting dark-skinned women explore the notions of perceived inherent values embedded in the Latin American identity. Her work has been shown both in Mexico and France. Navarro has a degree in Graphic Design and Animation.
9. Tania Baca Alvarado (b. 1988, Toluca)
Tania Baca creates dream-like surrealist landscape paintings that transmit a sense of tranquility and fantasy. Her unique style of bold and pastel color palette to depict nature has received much attention from art collectors who have seen her work exhibited throughout Mexico in recent years. Baca has a Bachelor's degree in Plastic Arts from the Autonomous University of Mexico State (UAEMex). She currently works and lives in Toluca, Mexico.
10. Patricia Ortiz (b. 1991, Monterrey)
Patricia Ortiz trained as an Art Therapist and now her realistic paintings are bringing attention to mental health. She holds a BA from Emmanuel College Boston, MA and an MA from Metáfora, Centre dEstudis dArtterapia, Barcelona, Spain. While living in Europe, she was inspired by the drapery of the Renaissance old masters and the dramatic chiaroscuro of the Baroque, later adapting the oil painting technique of grisaille and color glazing into contemporary realism.
Ortiz has participated in multiple group exhibitions in Mexico, Spain, and the USA. Her work is part of private collections in Mexico, Guatemala, the USA, Spain, and Saudi Arabia. She lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico.