Curated by Wilfredo Valladares
what defines home?
is it a circuitous route one takes to find what can be called and adapted as “home.” is it a place, a feeling, a memory, an emotion, or a relationship? in the exhibition “finding home” all of these concepts are explored through the combined artistic voices and personal experiences of the featured artists and are embedded in each of the individual works and art installations that are composed of a vibrant and vast combination of materials and time-based medium.
is an award-winning, internationally known artist, educator, and curator. Valladares is the founder of Arte Studio 28 and Perspectivas Latinas, initiatives that promote and foster Latinx and Caribbean artists, traditions, and cultures. His artwork is in collections in the U.S., Latin and Central America, South Korea, and Italy. He serves as Visual Arts Academic Chair and Coordinator of the Sculpture Program at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC). He is a board member and co-chair, as well as the Visual Arts Curator, for the American Poetry Museum in Washington, DC. A tenured Full-Professor in the Visual Arts Department, Valladares holds the following degrees: MFA (University of Maryland College Park); BFA (Maryland Institute College of Art); Teaching Certificate (Normal Mixta Matilde Cordova Viuda de Suazo). His international installations include: “Terzo Millenio” (Milan, Italy; 1997), and “Near and Far” (Exhibition; Outdoor Installation: Daegu, South Korea; 2014). Valladares’ notable art commissions include: “Petalos Reflejantes ” (Silver Spring, Maryland; 2009); “Journey: Anacostia" (Washington, DC; 2013).
Valladares was born in Trujillo Colon, Honduras, where he began his career as an artist and teacher. His perspectives in the role of educator challenged the status quo during a time of conflict in his country, necessitating his pursuit of political asylum in the United States. Adopting a new country came with its own challenges, which Valladares met and overcame as he continued forging his path as an artist. Transcending the traditional paradigm of cross-cultural art, Valladares’ work respectfully bridges boundaries and connects multiple cultures, incorporating history and heart in each piece.
En homenaje al amor, la naturaleza y la amistad (In tribute to love, nature, and friendship) contributing artists Wesley Clark, Elana Casey, Lavett Ballard mixed media installation 84 x 88 in (quilt) 202
Remnants: a visual journey of memory and renewal Amber Robles-Gordon is drawn to the terms, remnants, slivers, and fragments, and believes we are all a compilation of pieces of our experiences, influences, and choices. She uses her artwork to explore and share her perception of cellular and spiritual energy. And, for Robles- Gordon, artwork is the language she uses to discover, understand and express the condition of life and its connection to her soul. In this series, Robles-Gordon explores the emotional, physical, and psychic processes of loss. This body of work conveys the mental and physical effort it takes to move through loss. The artist works sequentially and within these works, deploying the lenses of abstraction, realism, photography, sacred geometry, symbolism, and installation art to convey a journey of self- awareness and growth. Together, these artworks present a visual telling of love, loss,
and healing. Along this journey, Robles-Gordon convened with friends and incredibly talented artists Zoë Charlton, Lavett Ballard, Wesley Clark, Elana Casey, and Alanzo Robles-Gordon, to join and partner with her in this visual storytelling. She thanks them for their friendship.
Sketches for The Story of a House in Three Scenes.
30 Drawings 8 x 6 inches
Ink and collage
Ephemeral Boundaries and Acts of God.
The Story of a House in Three Scenes.
The project initiated with 30 drawings of a house as a structure capable of transcending its purpose and condition, looking at the home as a signifier and a place for meaning.
The story of a house in three scenes appropriated a video of a house deracinated by the ocean found on the news feed on the internet. The existing video serves as an input source for an AI platform, where the drawings are the style that transforms the video. The project proposes a playful dialogue with the concept of home and formally investigates the possibilities of collaborating with Artificial Intelligence by opening a critical discussion about the creation and creative process.
A house as a concept contains possibilities of transcending, resignifying, and expanding its meaning. As an architectonic space, a house can transit from a mere location to a shelter, to a home to a site of memories, to a utopian place existing in a distant land, an ancestral home that is concrete and ideal. A house could exist as a monument, as a place, and transiting between indifference to notoriety, bearing witness to the ethos of America, witnessing the changes in the landscape of our climate or natural disasters, and witnessing our journey in a location.
“Keeping Safe Amidst the Chaos”, 2022, dimensions variable, copper and aluminum wire
The concept of transformation is an overarching theme in my work. I am particularly interested in conflict and the response to that conflict. Human beings are ever evolving, be it physically, spiritually, or philosophically and inevitably involves some degree of conflict. At times my eye focuses inward to my inner turmoil and at others, I am inspired by events around me and throughout the world. Our personal history and cultural background inform not only how we define ourselves but also how others see us. How do we define ourselves within and without our historical context? Can one generate shifts in social or ideological paradigms without first evolving from within? To explore the nature of transformation I employ wedges as my signature element— I see wedges as agents of change, as a means of engagement; they can be used to divide and to shore up. This duality hints at the complexity of metamorphosis.
I choose to work with materials commonly used for construction such as steel, copper, wood and concrete, because they are materials that signify strength and stability; however, time and
circumstance can weaken and destabilize. They are humble materials that are ubiquitous in modern society, easily relatable and recognized.
‘Finding home’ to me is a journey of self-discovery. It is a path an individual takes to understanding how their personal interactions with family, friends, and strangers teaches you how to approach the chaos of existence with equanimity. ‘Home’ is a place where I am free to be every version of myself, physically and conceptually.
Sueños vacíos(Empty Dreams) Acrylic on Canvas, 3'x5'
In ancient civilizations, people moved from one place to another in search of new horizons. But as we move towards a “civilized society”, we are losing the rights to look for a better life.
My artwork explores the criminalization of undocumented immigrants, which is mostly based on my own experiences as an undocumented immigrant. Most of my ideas for my artwork come from a combination of memories of my journey when I came to the United States and the emotions that I feel while facing present obstacles. My artwork narrates the stories of many other immigrants with similar experiences. We face many challenges starting the day that we decide to leave everything behind to go to an unknown land and immerse ourselves in a different culture. We leave our beloved homes in search of a life where we can at least have basic human needs. Once we arrive at the “land of dreams”, we are criminalized and the system names us as “Illegal Aliens”, as if we are from another planet. Moving from one place to another to look for a better life should be a fundamental human right. However, the system is designed to keep us out, but we are here and we have always been here.
"Limbo #2 (New Paths)". Sandra Pérez-Ramos. 39" x 33" x3". Fiber arts and mixed media. 2022
Sandra Perez – Ramos
Puerto Rico’s complex history brought a diverse combination of languages, social practices and belief systems to the Island. Spanish colonization forced the convergence of Indigenous, European and African cultures there and centuries later, the US took possession, after winning the Spanish American War. To this day, 125 years later, the Island remains in a political “Limbo” as a colony of the US.
With its mixed cultural heritage, syncretism and magical thinking play significant roles in the social imaginary of the country and in the creative expression of its people. While longing for a fully autonomous Puerto Rico, the artist reflects on another “Limbo” of sorts, one of identity, due to a life between countries, youth in the Island and middle age in the diaspora. She reminisces about “home”, friends, family and the eclectic, mystical curiosity instilled by the women on her mother’s side. Using repetition as a ritual, she invents her own symbols, amulets and altars. She plays with idiomatic expressions and materials, using fabric, fibers and hand stitching as metaphors of ancestry, spirituality and connection.
Jack Strolling Through the Field 24" x 24" oil on canvas
Although my passion is art, my priority is to live a life of a good human being that can contribute to this world with a positive impact. There are so many beautiful things in the world. The nature is beautiful and all the creatures are beautiful. Only when people break the rules, destruction of nature can take place causing pain and ugliness.That is how I see the world and nature. We are creatures that share this world with other creatures and if either suffers, the other suffers as well. And as an artist, my contribution is through the action of art. I believe colors and forms of nature holds the power to heal the hurt. Traveling is one of my favorites, and after having been to many parts of the world, I saw that it is quite common for someone to desire to move to his/her "dream" place. This could be realized by immigrating to that dream place, working hard to settle down, trying to immerse and assimilate to his/her new surroundings. Witnessing a lot of people doing these gave me the opportunity to reflect my own self as a first generation immigrant, in the same shoes. The mouse you see in my painting is not welcomed by anyone nor liked very much. It symbolizes "immigrants" working hard and trying to overcome various socio-economic challenges. The mouse is "afraid" and "weak" but is treated at the same time as a "character" with its own idiosyncratic feelings. It gets assimilated to nature and gets healed by nature just as we do.
Riding Long Dead Horses (Rider 3) Porcelain and red stoneware, glaze 2017-2018
Much of my recent work has been influenced by witnessing environmental devastation, cataclysmic fire, and disappearing habitats in the American West. This region, stretching from California to the Rockies, is a “home zone” for me where the rock feels right under my feet, but I am wary of any feelings of ownership. A few generations on the land are scant claims to an environment that openly displays eons of geologic time. These biozones have been hit especially hard by global warming. My most recent figures are personifications of Folly, Warning, and Loss. The Western United States has also been a place of migration and displacement. I have also sculpted travelers and wrestled with myths of rugged individualism and manifest destiny.
September 14th, 2023
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Chaney Gallery at Maryland Hall