Mindy Solomon is pleased to present Movimiento Cósmica, the first solo exhibition of gallery artist Natalia Arbelaez. A cosmic narrative highlighting spiritual travel through altered states, the work presented is an homage to Pre-Columbian art and artists. Inspired by the book Seeing with New Eyes by Rebecca Stone Miller, Arbelaez researched the nearly six hundred works from Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru in the Michael C. Carlos Museum permanent collection. Told through the lens of the Shamanic experience, the works become far more than ancient artifacts. Driven by her desire to understand further, Arbelaez has created a body of work that is timeless and spiritual.
“My work takes the place of a storyteller. I highlight my own personal narrative of my Colombian family’s immigration, as well as research the history of the Pre-Columbian/ South American presence on the continent. I also investigate my American, latchkey, afterschool cartoon upbringing. Each of these identities plays a role in my work in order to illustrate a self-portrait of what it is like to be a Mestizo, Colombian, American hybrid. I combine these stories with research, familial narratives, and cartoon embellishments that create surreal stories. I liken my efforts to the non-fictional, fictional and short story writings of famed Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. Like Márquez, I try to autobiographically illustrate my personal and ancestral history. It is a story containing a wide range of experiences and emotions.
I use my work to research undervalued histories. Primarily Latin American, Amerindian, and Women of Color. I explore how these identities are lost through conquest, migration, and the passage of time. Conversely, family and genetic memory serve as a catalyst for cultural exploration and the continuance of family traditions.
I’ve embraced my use of craft and clay not only in my process but also in my historical and cultural research. I relate to the role of the craftsperson, often linked to women’s work and the working class. I understand how Terra-cotta has been seen historically as a lesser material, and I’m looking to elevate it. The use of Majolica glaze brought over from Europe that is used as a surface to hide terra-cotta, is a metaphor for my perception of colonization. “
Arbelaez will showcase a series of large scale works as well as a video. Presented as an immersive installation, these pieces will envelope the viewer, inspiring a sense of the vision quest that Arbelaez has so dutifully pursued.
About Natalia Arbelaez
Natalia Arbelaez is a Colombian American artist, born and raised in Miami, Florida to immigrant parents. She received her B.F.A. from Florida International University and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, with an Enrichment Fellowship. In 2016-2017 she was a Rittenberg Fellow at Clay Art Center; Port Chester, New York and was awarded the Inaugural Artaxis Fellowship that funded a residency to Watershed in Newcastle, Maine. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in museums, galleries, and included in various collections, such as the Everson Museum and The Frederik Meijer Gardens.
She has been recognized by NCECA as a 2018 Emerging Artist and was a 2018-19 resident artist at Harvard University where she researched pre-Columbian art and histories. Natalia was recently an artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City where she researched the work of historical and influential women ceramicists of color.