Sean Kelly is delighted to present VERDES, Ana González’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Through her artistic practice González captures the duality of the natural world – its fragile state due to humanity’s extraction of natural resources and the political and spiritual power inherent to it. Drawing upon the landscapes of her native Colombia, and her collaborations with the indigenous communities that protect them, González’s work serves as both a warning of the gradual disappearance of a vital, historic ecosystem and a celebration of its sensual power. Occupying Sean Kelly, Los Angeles’ third-floor space, the exhibition features paintings, textiles, works on paper, and sculptures. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, January 20, from 5 – 7pm. The artist will be present.
The title of the exhibition, VERDES, simultaneously references the verdant green González captures in her landscape paintings and textiles, as well as the dull green color of the US dollar. González juxtaposes these two motifs, the ancient, mutualist ecosystems of Colombia, and the unsustainable, capitalistic consumption of natural resources. In her Devastations series, González prints photographs of South American landscapes onto woven textiles which she then partially unravels by hand. González manipulates the surfaces of her images to reflect the precariousness of these spaces; the jungles surrounding the Amazon River, revered by some as the heart of the world, are threatened by the mining, ranching, and logging industries. González’s unraveling represents the slow, but consequential, disappearance of an ancient ecosystem. Her textiles preserve the potential of these spaces as sites of power, abundance, and renewal. As the artist states, “When I think of the green of the tropics, I think about the damp soil, the hot land, the waterfalls, the mountains, the jungles… all that remains on this planet which allows us to breathe.” González’s works are a call to rejuvenate the landscapes she depicts, an invitation towards stillness and reflection. She argues for a reorientation of our principles – from the monetary to the sacred values of the natural world.
Also on view are González’s sculptural works, including a series depicting the Cattleya, an orchid native to South America. Executed in Limoges porcelain, a technique González’s learned while studying in Paris, the Cattleya sculptures and related works render, in vivid detail, the soft and sensual surfaces of the plants. As with the Devastations textiles, the fragility of the porcelain underscores the precarious nature of the environment they represent. Some of the flowers are enclosed in bell jars, as though they are preserved specimens of a lost environment. Other sculptures depict detailed renderings of birds, which reappear in the artists’ Sacred Bird drawings. To the artist, birds serve as doors to the spiritual world. In VERDES, their presence invites the viewer to access the transcendent qualities of the earthly scenes on view.
An architecture graduate from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, Ana González specialized in Art and Gender at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and completed a Master’s Degree in Arts and Media (Photography-Printing-Publishing) at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris in Paris, France. Her work is included in several private and public collections, including The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, the Havremagasinet Länskonsthall Museum in Sweden, the National Museum of Colombia and the Bogotá Museum of Modern Art (MAMBO). In addition, González has developed several social projects with the Colombian indigenous communities of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and humanitarian projects with the Nukak community in Guaviare and the Misak women in Cauca. She is currently working on the construction of a traditional house with the Tikuna women of the Colombian Amazon.
On the occasion of her exhibition at Sean Kelly, Los Angeles, González has collaborated with the Misak community of Cauca, Colombia to produce an edition of woven bags made using traditional weaving techniques of the Misak. The bags, with an engraving by the artist, will be available for purchase at Sean Kelly, Los Angeles. All proceeds will go directly to the Misak women artisans of Cauca.