My current muse is a brave woman, unafraid of challenge and patient with process. She is an ancestor...made of black charcoal and salt water.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about attending the 2013 AROHO Writing Retreat in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, where I met many amazing women writers and artists from around the country. One of those women is pintora-extraordinaire Karina Puente, who grew up in Santa Ynez Valley, California and graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University. Currently, Puente resides and paints at her East Coast studio and works with the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program as a teaching artist. Her work, collected privately around the world, has been featured in museums such as the Corcoran National Gallery, the Miami MoCA, and the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art.
|Women Who Sit Final Layered Drawing|
As AROHO's 2013 Artist-in-Residence, Puente not only made a lasting impression on many of us at the retreat, she made a lasting impression of us. Aside from the daily watercolor classes that she facilitated, her retreat project, Women Who Sit, was a visual morphing wonder. She shares, "For the AROHO Writers Retreat Project, I drew 15 writers' portraits on a single piece of paper and used stop-motion animation to document the drawing as it changed, resulting in only one woman’s face with many stories beneath it."
This is a picture of the final Women Who Sit drawing, which is layered with the caras of 15 mujeres. It's difficult to articulate exactly how the layering occurred, but you can check out a cool, short video of the process here:
When asked what inspired Women who Sit, Karina said, "I came up with this idea after envisioning a work that could excite me and would drive me to connect with other creative, powerful women. A beautiful component of site-specific work is to imagine how others will interact and be affected by the art. I wanted to make a project that was ambitious and yet simple."
Those of us who posed for Women Who Sit got to see Karina's genius up close and in action. Think Mad Scientist. Between quick charcoal strokes, Karina repeatedly stepped back and forth in front of a larger-than-life paper canvas. She seemed to be dancing to her own internal music as she drew, her hands constantly marking, smudging, erasing. As her eyes leapt from subject to paper and paper to subject, she seemed to be capturing more than physical features; she was eliciting each Sitting Woman's inner essence, our energía, miradas, moods. There was something electric about Karina as she worked. The words that kept running through my head as I watched her charcoal me into existence were Pulse, Pintura, Passion.
Charcoal Version of a
"Art can arouse emotion," says Karina, "If a piece of art directs a person to create more, become excited, or dream, the work has done its job." The sketch that Karina did of me definitely aroused emotion. When I looked into it, it evoked my own layered reality; I saw a past version of my mother staring back at me through time and space.
|Pau: Oil Paint on Panel|
One of the elements I find most alluring about Karina's paintings is how subjects and shapes constantly shift and morph. Karina says about this, "Morphing in my work symbolizes transformation and touching the unseen; it grows with me and continuously reveals information about where I am in my life emotionally and intellectually."
For fun and out of curiosity, I asked Karina to envision a collective art piece where she could work with a visual artist, a writer, and a musician of her choice, living or deceased. These were her choices:
Visual artist of choice:
British-born-Mexican surrealist painter and novelist, Leonora Carrington, who depicts science, alchemy, and personal narrative in her work.
What exactly would these four amazing artists be creating? Leonora Carrington and Karina would be painting a large-scale mural guided by Bhanu Kapil and painted to the music of Tori Amos.
Believe it or not, these are all
of the same view!
She is too kind. Thank you Karina for sharing a bit about yourself with La Bloga. To learn more about Karina Puente and to view more of her amazing work, visit: www.karinapuentearts.com