2016-17 Barbara Rittenberg Fellow (Arbalaez) and Artist-in-Residence (Wall) duo exhibition.
I’m a figurative sculptural artist who uses any medium that best exemplifies concepts and ideas. I do often find myself having a preference for clay and how well I’ve responded to the material. Its memory, immediacy, and visceral handling are all qualities that have appealed to me and my psyche. The primal tactility of clay, with its responsiveness and memory extends itself to my ideas of the body. The physical body has a memory to it and memory connects to form. In my process of referencing the body I have forgone the use of an actual and specific body. Because of this I can use the memory of my own body, the body of my family, and extend my memories to places beyond the body.
Some of the topics that I touch upon are my Colombian heritage and culture and the indigenous people of South America. I work with ideas of how these identities are lost through conquest, migration, and time, gained through family, culture, and exploration, and passed down through tradition and genetic memory. I use these influences to contribute to a contemporary dialogue while simultaneously continuing the work of my ancestors.
As a maker of functional ceramics I focus on the experience of the useful object. Having the ability to put an object directly into a persons hand creates a relationship between the maker and user. The way that hands will hold or travel around the piece inform the surface treatments and shapes I use. I visualize a touch that inspires silent moments of unique thought.
Clay has captivated me through its endless possibilities and technical challenges. When working with clay, I oscillate between functional and structural work with a heavy emphasis on design. Much of my work is ﬁrst thrown on the wheel and then altered or assembled. In addition, I use molds and hand building techniques, never limiting myself to one way of working. The challenge in creating complex and geometric forms inspires my initial process of design. Through detailed sketches and planning, I determine the different components I need to make a form.
The glazing process is a time for reﬂection; a time to consider the outcome. I am intrigued by the different ways a person can experience a composition. I glaze the surface of each object with geometric shapes of vivid color to strengthen the design. These shapes bring harmony to each form. I encourage the hand to slowly move around the piece by using a variety of gloss and matte glazes. This attention to design and tactile elements is meant to enhance the experience of the useful object.