Maria is a collection of pieces that I created to pay homage to the matriarchs in my life, my mother and my grandmother. I wish to elevate their style of work that is often taken for granted and challenge the audiences preconceived ideas about craft and art. My hope is that these works can be appreciated for the high level of work and skill that goes into them while also feeling comfortable in an unpretentious art setting.
At Maria’s conception, I had been spending a lot of time with my grandmother since the passing of my grandfather a few months prior. I knew that I wanted to make art that reflected the things she had taught me and establish that the tradition of needlework that had been passed on through the women of our family was not going to die out anytime soon. As I reflected, I began to focus on the linguistics of my culture as well. I thought of all the english sayings that baffled me while I was learning english and how they all seemed so strange and nonsensical. They conjured up colorful images of things that were unrealistic or unrelated to the topic at hand. It occured to me that the same went for those sayings that I grew up hearing from my mother and that in fact they would create beautiful, sometimes comical, imagery whether they were looked at with the knowledge of what was being reference or just looked at it for their aesthetic value. I decided that I would use printmaking techniques as well to create the backdrops for some of my smaller pieces and further elevate and push them conceptually away from diminishing preconceived notions the audience may have of needlework.
As I actually began working on all of these pieces and meditating even more over the concepts that I was working with, I began to take great inspiration from feminist artists and especially Yolanda Lopez’s pieces depicting her own mother and grandmother as holy figures. The more I ruminate over this, the more I realized that the art I was creating was about these women and showing off their humor and talent.
My hope is that my Mexican-American audience is reminded of home and the comforts of being with our mothers and grandmothers. For the rest of the audience which may not understand what I am referencing, I hope to push them to learn about a new culture as they enter a space curated in the spirit of my mother and grandmother.
In placing these works in a gallery setting but maintaining the images playful and materials mostly soft, I wish to elevate them and have these pieces revered, not for their contrived meaning or any other high art pretentious nonsense, but rather for the artistry and finesse required to do the stitching taught to me. I wish to blur the line between what is typically seen as art and show off my culture, my family, and the value of women’s work as art AND craft.