Spotlight: Emerging Artist Cayla Birk Updates the Classic Mexican Game of Lotería in Her Latest Paintings

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Every month, hundreds of galleries add newly available works by thousands of artists to the Artnet Gallery Network—and every week, we shine a spotlight on one artist or exhibition you should know. Check out what we have in store, and inquire for more with one simple click. 

About the Artist: Florida-based emerging artist Cayla Birk (b. 1990) approaches her art-making in a Neo-Dadaist way, offering playful, witty, and irreverent takes that recontextualize familiar visual cues from popular culture through her acrylic-based paintings. In her recent series, Birk has riffed on Pantone colors and the periodic table, filling these familiar systems with ciphers. Another recent series, “The Fortunate,” reconfigures the graphic layout of fortune cookies. The artist shows with curatorial project House2Six, which has organized exhibitions in New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Los Angeles, and Miami.

Why We Like It: Birk’s most recent series “Take the Lot” reinterprets visuals from the famous Mexican card game lotería, akin to bingo but using images in place of numbers. The game, which enjoyed newfound global popularity during quarantines, takes visual inspiration from the tarot deck but is based on chance. In her new canvases, Birk replicates the cards’ bold, monochromatic backgrounds but replaces their famous emblems with new icons of value and meaning in contemporary culture—a Birkin bag or Xanax—her wry commentary on these status symbols, and the roles of luck, or “making your own luck” in terms of monetary success. 

According to the Artist:My artwork re-conceptualizes social and cultural subject matters. In my work, I allude to popular iconography, musical lyricism, and current verbal slang that pervades society… What an artist divulges and what the viewer receives can be completely disparate, and there’s so much honest beauty in that. In my beginning years as an artist, all I wanted was for my viewers to feel something, anything—but that faded, and eventually I found the more rewarding aspect was to leave the observer feeling like they’ve learned something. Emotionally, mentally, factually—just as long as I’ve challenged their mental discourse, that’s enough for me.”

 

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Cayla Birk, La Anxiety (2022). Courtesy of the artist and House2Six.

Cayla Birk, (2022). Courtesy of the artist and House2Six.

 

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Cayla Birk, El Treat (2022). Courtesy of the artist and House2Six.

Cayla Birk, (2022). Courtesy of the artist and House2Six.

 

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Cayla Birk, La Bolsa (2022). Courtesy of the artist and House2Six.

Cayla Birk, (2022). Courtesy of the artist and House2Six.

 

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Cayla Birk, El Balón (2022). Courtesy of the artist and House2Six.

Cayla Birk, (2022). Courtesy of the artist and House2Six.

 

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