Maria de Los Angeles
The Garden of Dreams, a solo exhibition on view from July 2023 to January 2024, featuring a series of new paintings by Maria de Los Angeles. Her inspiration is Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, a place of natural beauty and cultural diversity. The exhibition features seven paintings. Each composition is embellished with floral motifs that transition from a pattern into a landscape with camouflaged figures, symbols, and butterflies.
Large scale butterflies function as a visual guide to invite the viewer to witness the individual narratives throughout the paintings; a vivid dream of layered textures and elements with gold, silver, and low-relief embellishments.
“El Jardín”, Acrylic on Canvas, 30” x 50”, 2023, at its center features a Sugar Skull, inspired by the tradition of Dia de los Muertos, holding a rose, surrounded by a Guadalupe figure. At the bottom, three dancers move through the composition.
Beyond the poetic stories, text and images reference the immigrant struggle and the necessity to migrate due to increased social, economic, political, and ecological challenges. Emotive figures of two mothers hold their children in a floating floral pattern, while holding notes of the children’s separation at the Mexico-US border.
de Los Angeles emigrated with her family to Santa Rosa, CA, from Mexico, at a young age. An experience that has shaped her desire to create works of art that weave together social commentary, lived immigrant narratives, with spiritual motifs.
About the Artist
An American artist focusing on drawing, painting, printmaking, and wearable sculptures, Maria de Los Angeles (@delosangelesart) was born in Mexico and raised in Sonoma County. She is the full-time Critic and Assistant Director of Painting and Printmaking at the Yale School of Art. De Los Angeles lives with her partner, artist Ryan Bonilla, in Jersey City, New Jersey.
My multidisciplinary studio practice includes drawing, painting, installation, performance, and muralism. The main themes in my work are about exploring belonging and identity at the intersection of the personal and universal. It is rooted in my immigrant experience in the United States. Growing up undocumented had a transforming impact on my sense of belonging and worldview. My two-dimensional works convey social commentary, personal stories, and universal experiences using narrative and abstraction.
Some of my work is autobiographical, others are inspired by the community, family, and the news. I begin by drawing from my imagination and then, later, from photographs, combining the two to create layered narratives. I like the meaning in my work to unfold slowly, with people discovering elements and moments they didn’t see at first. I think about time, and the time needed to fully take in the emotional and psychological impact of a painting and its story. My images are layered with a combination of myth, actual situations, culture and political symbols, spirituality, and sometimes humor. I often contemplate how myth, allegory, and individual experience merge to create our perspectives. I’m highly influenced by magic realism, the feminist movement, and political art.
Mixed media drawing installations have become a way to see a mural before it has been composed. The idea of many voices coming together is how I think about the collaboration. When projects are being created in collaboration with community, the process is similar. A mural is community and proof that we can do something together and bring our range of experiences to the piece.