Briefly describe the work you do.
I work with a material’s core essence. I buy materials that eagerly await the hand of an artist to become a landscape, a figure, or an abstraction. My interest, however, is not into what the material can be manipulated, but in the material itself. I play with a material’s autonomy, its core essence, and self-sufficiency. Purposely overworking a material’s main function, I expose it until it pushes past its utility. I work systematically to achieve a balanced result that is sometimes poetic, and other times, matter-of-fact.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
My background is in ceramics. I started working with clay when I was 8. Once a week after school I would spend three precious hours in Susana’s studio. I continued up until Grad School when I got interested in exploring other materials. All those years of ceramics taught me the importance of working with my hands, the value of making mistakes, a respect for material, and a love of processes.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio practice in the past few years starts in an art or craft supply store, or in a hardware store. I go there and look at what’s on the shelves until something calls me. I then approach it and ask a few basic questions like “what is this?” “what is this sold for?” If I feel there’s enough conceptual material to work with, I take it to my studio and start a process of contemplation, conversation, and collaboration with the material.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
My role is that of an advocate for the material with which I’m working. For many years I was an artist who transformed materials to make things. My role now is that of an artist who listens to a material and exposes its essence. With each material, I create working methods that serves the material rather than serving me. I like to have as little intervention as I can without loosing balance and conceptual content.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
It varies, but I like working in the morning the best. I am more focused at that time, and if it’s really early, it helps that the world is silent still.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
I think the main difference is in learning to step aside and allow the material to speak its voice. I still hold a curiosity for materiality.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Yes, many. Friends and teachers have helped me many times to see what I don’t see. Throughout my family, going back a few generations, there’s been an interest in work being done with their hands, whether it’s wood turning, weaving fibers, making furniture, playing piano, giving massage, or pollinating corn. There are also teachers in my family and that’s probably how I learned to listen to materials and follow their needs. In terms of philosophy, Object-Oriented Ontology has been influencing my thinking in my work.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
A cook, a traveler, a potter, a musician, a writer, a teacher, a yoga/meditation/tai chi practitioner, a farmer, a hermit. I do these things to some degree regularly because they enrich my life and that of others.
I am a multimedia artist. I grew up in Argentina and received an MFA in New Practices from San Francisco State University in 2005. My work is an exploration on materiality, the natural world, and methodical processes. My work has been shown in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, Santa Fe, and internationally in Argentina, Turkey, and Spain. I recently completed a residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE where I was awarded the Emmy Gifford Foundation Fellowship. My most recent shows have taken place at Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York, the New Mexico Museum of Art as part of the Alcove Exhibitions, 333 Montezuma Arts, in Santa Fe, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.