Mencimer, Stephanie. The Trouble with Frida Kahlo.
The Washington Monthly: June 2002. “Kahlo’s art is to painting what the memoir is to literature – self-absorbed, confessional, and hard to dismiss as a flash in the pan.
“[H]er paintings, rooted in 19th-century Mexican portraiture, ingeniously incorporated elements of Mexican pop culture and pre-Columbian primitivism that, in the 1930s, had never been done before. Usually small, intimate paintings that contrasted with the grand mural tradition of her time, her work was often done on sheet metal rather than canvas, in the style of Mexican street artists who painted retablos, or small votive paintings that offer thanks to the Virgin Mary or a saint for a miraculous deliverance from misfortune.
“The paintings often reflect her tumultuous relationship with Rivera, as well as the anguish of her ever-deteriorating health. Between the time of her accident and her death, Kahlo had more than 30 surgeries, and a gangrenous leg was eventually amputated. She dramatized the pain in her paintings, while carefully cultivating a self-image as a ‘heroic sufferer.’”