Alicia Reyes McNamara


Alicia Reyes McNamara makes work that meditates on issues of displacement, particularly within a double diaspora. They draw upon both Mexican and Irish (their parent's cultural heritages) mythology and folklore in order to make work that speaks of navigating gendered and cultural identities and questions how to negotiate the idea of cultural authenticity.


Reyes McNamara’s recent works are rooted in research on Mexican and Irish mythology and in particular the recurrence of water myths within those two discourses. McNamara was struck by how many times feminine goddesses were a central part of these myths, yet largely were presented as fallen figures, punished or condemned for their hyper-sexuality or acts that defied the prevailing order. Reyes McNamara's works reclaims the subjecthood of these female figures, presenting them as agents in charge of their surroundings rather than fallen or mourned figures. These are paintings that articulate hybridity, a morphing together of disparate and sometimes disquieting elements, presided over by female figures that were once consigned to being ghosts or memories, but in these are back to reclaim the spaces that once were theirs.


This area of research has lead Reyes McNamara to exploring the non-binary and gender variance within Aztec and Mesoamerican culture.  They have said about their recent practice: “I’m invested in opening up the concept of an in-between space where identity is fluid along with cultures, languages and genders. My practice examines the potential of how all things can transcend their own definition and acquire a new meaning or life.” (Whitechapel Open catalogue, 2022)


Reyes McNamara completed their MFA at University of Oxford Ruskin School of Art in 2016. They have recently shown in 'The London Open' Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022); Lismore Castle, Lismore (2021);  and participated at the Skowhegan School of Painting Residency, Maine. (2022). They were commissioned by The Showroom as part of ‘Communal Knowledge’ (2018) and had a solo exhibition, ‘Nowhere Else’ at South London Gallery (2017).