Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Jun 2000

KCAC Forum Magazine Vol 24 #1 June 2000

IN THEIR OWN WORDS
MARIA VELASCO

My artistic development has involved a great variety of subjects and media. At first I expressed my message solely through drawing and painting. Currently, I am working in installation, sculpture, and interdisciplinary approaches. I have used sound, light photography, video, and performance in my work, which arises out of and is inspired by my experiences. My work is embedded with gender and cross-cultural issues that I reframe within the larger context of my aesthetic and intellectual concerns.

Over the last seven years the topics on which I have focused have prompted my choice of materials. My interests gravitate toward explicating the formation of individual and collective identity, and their inseparable relationship to female sexuality, language, and the body. In pieces such as Nostalgia/Memory (1992), the ice melting through the plexiglaSs depicts the concept of “process” and the passage of time. In Speaking Knots Hablando Nudos (1993), the fragile nature of identity is presented through changing shadows and hanging structures. An on-going project of mine is an exploration of the history of Women and my own experience as a woman of Spanish heritage.

I am interested in art as a form of engagement with a particular context or situation. In order to provoke that engagement, I explore notions of private and public space, intimacy and censorship. My project Remember Lot’s Wife was created for the glass facade of the Salina Art Center in Salina, Kansas, and attempts to bridge the public and intimate dimensions of existence by invading the space of the street and the space of the onlookers memories. Through interdisciplinary approaches, I attempt to dismantle the concept of the artistic “vision” as a privileged experience by revealing my vision in ways that stimulate the senses and invite viewer participation. Remember Lot’s Wife displays a monumental figure that has been strategically placed, allowing her to take control over the access to the building by blocking the doorway.

I use my artwork as a vehicle for exploration, as a tool to merge art and life, and as a wellspring of unexpected connections and relationships. I strive to develop work that goes beyond the boundaries of traditional practices and continues challenging my own convictions. I believe installation and interdisciplinary approaches have the potential to foster dialogue, to pose questions and to challenge their own framework.

My most recent piece, tierra de nadie, was created for the Contemporary Art Museum-Museo del Barro in AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay during a month-long residency. In this work, the female body is presented as an offering and also as a vehicle for hybridization. The controversy over hybridization created a conflict between the indigenous peoples and the Spanish conquistadors. My presentation of the female body goes beyond the historical context of this conflict it also represents the Other the animal, the sexual, the unknown.

Recently, I was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship, which will allow me to return to Paraguay to further my research. For Summer 2001 I have proposed working with the indigenous community to develop a video installation.