I Prefer Direct Sunlight

Natalie Ochoa

June 15th July 16th, 2023

Press Release & Works ListNatalie Ochoa CV

Blade Study is pleased to present I Prefer Direct Sunlight, Brooklyn-based artist Natalie Ochoa’s debut with the gallery. Through her sculpture and embroidery practice, Ochoa mines her personal history growing up in a Colombian Catholic family and her present life in New York City to explore themes of health, desire, spirituality, and nostalgia. Guided by a detail-oriented, intuitive approach, she combines research on modern psychiatry, occult practices, and “healing” culture to create deeply personal sculptures and wall works. Taken together, Ochoa’s work spans the realms of art, craft, and design, to consider the capitalist underpinnings of the modern “wellness industrial complex.”

Guided by her own quest for self-acceptance, Ochoa speaks to her generation’s obsessive pursuit of an extremely-online and nearly religiously zealous form of “wellness.” Rendered in resin, wood, acrylic, stainless steel, water, and fabric with digital embroidery, the hard exteriors which encase Ochoa’s soft textures are coping mechanisms made physical. Into these multivalent objects, the artist incorporates references to her childhood in the 1990s, including now-vintage toys, imagery from the television psychic Miss Cleo, icons of purity such as swans, and carefully selected words of affirmation.

Ochoa’s nostalgic manifestations of life before a series of 21st-century traumas—the war on terror, climate change, a pandemic, a reckoning with racial injustice—speaks to her generation’s stunted ability to participate meaningfully in the production of the future. “Wellness” and the resulting multibillion-dollar industry that sprung up around it, has since become the buzzword du jour, manifesting a world in which constant self-improvement becomes the only means of effectively controlling one’s own destiny.

I Prefer Direct Sunlight reveals the ways “wellness” and capital are intertwined and how the rhetoric of anti-anxiety, self-care, and personal ritual are packaged, sold and distributed online as hollow stand-ins for more meaningful action to address the defining issues of our time. The resulting commodification of wellness, as illustrated in Ochoa’s deeply personal work, stands in the way of meaningful political and economic control.



Natalie Ochoa is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She taps into her Colombian roots by engaging in rituals that help her confront fears, anxieties, and vulnerability. Using embroidery and sculpture as mediums, her creations serve as a therapeutic outlet, enabling her to convey emotions and juxtapose past pain through vibrant colors and naive imagery. Collectively, her artworks construct a distinctive realm where her contradictions coexist harmoniously.