U.S. Latinx Arts Futures Symposium

Lisa C Soto speaking in a symposium created and led by the artist Teresita Fernandez hosted at the Ford Foundation with support by both the Ford Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation. This all day symposium addressed the invisibility of U.S. based Latinx people in the arts with the aim to establish a community and network that can work together to help reach greater Latinx inclusivity in the visual arts.

The Shortest Distance Between Two Points

From Voyeurism to wisdom 

2014 solo show at Gallery 825, Los Angeles, CA

Curious about the possibility and implications of either a natural disaster (another Big Bang) or a man-made calamity (global nuclear war), I hung from the ceiling a nebula-like structure frozen in mid-explosion. The centrifugal force of the explosion filled the gallery space and suggested an extension of the explosion’s force beyond the space. I made the nucleus and tendrils out of wire and washers that I painted in a range of colors that I imagined would exist in the black space beyond the earth’s atmosphere. A broken mirror protrudes out of the nucleus while the floor beneath the hanging structure is covered in 12” x 12” square mirrors. I wanted the floor mirrors to reflect the ambient movement of the structure above. Taking place in a darkened room lit by strategically placed spotlights, the communication between the floor mirrors and the nucleus mirror would suggest the infinite depths of space-time measured in light years. The point of the piece is for us to consider how our mortal lives represent but a mere grain of sand in the hourglass of the history of the planet.

Serving as both participant and voyeur of what could be either a natural or man-made disaster, I want the viewer to engage with the piece, to visually trace the paths laid by the washers and tendrils of wire. I want the viewer to wonder if the destruction of our planet is just a foregone conclusion, scripted long ago in the story of the universe, or whether we, with the best intentions, can prevent the world from literally disintegrating beneath our feet. Finally, I want the viewer to wonder what a post-human world would be like. Would its inhabitants be as arrogant, selfish, and narcissistic as its previous tenants or would it show that we are part of another revolution (previous ones having been Agricultural, Industrial, and Information), perhaps one we could call the Age of Wisdom.

Relational realities

Installation for group show titled "In 2040..." at Jaus Gallery - 2014.

"My work for the exhibition “In 2040...” will provide the viewer with a three-dimensional schematic that describes these evolving hierarchies, interconnections, and relationships. I made this nervous system-like form from a large number of twisted pieces of thin gauge galvanized metal. The composition of these metal pieces suggests the centrifugal force of an explosion while embedded washers of different colors and sizes suggest the organic and inorganic parts of the universe caught up in the explosion. Though it might not appear to be the case, the piece shows how everything in the universe is connected. Though thin gauge galvanized metal rusts, people die, civilizations end, and worlds perish perhaps everything exists for a common purpose."

LCDC 20414

Installation for solo show "Mi Tormenta" - Tub Gallery Miami, 2014.

In my work I reinvent landscapes that communicate extremes of the macro and micro worlds that serve as arenas for a human story. Strength and fragility are prevalent themes as are the explorations of interactions and disconnections. This creates an environment by which the viewer can engage and consider these conversations as they navigate through or around the sculptures and installations. In my process of construction and deconstruction, adding and subtracting, I work towards finding an emotional and intellectual core of these invented spaces.

Materials such as barbed wire; tangled fishing line attached to fishing hooks; broken mirrors covered in dried salt water; and cement, landscape, sculptures shape my solo show titled “Mi Tormenta” (My Storm). I use the elements in my installations to reflect both chaos and order and the tension that ensues from this intercourse. This metaphor also extends to an emotional experience: the uncertainty that comes with unbridled events, such as the connection or disunity between things or people — creating potentially threatening circumstances out of one’s control.

The concept for this exhibition was conceived while working at the Fountainhead artist residency in Miami the Spring of 2014. Next door to the Fountainhead studios in Little Haiti lies the remains of a drug den razed to the ground by the FBI in November 2013. As I searched through the rubble, the idea began to develop. I collected the scattered, empty crack bags, barbed wire, seeds from the trees and the rubble itself as a starting point. Reflecting on the chaos of drug addicts, their desperation and emotional range, the atmosphere of this environment, and the conflict of the illegality of these interactions, resulted in the concept of a storm. A reflection on the many manifestations of a tempest, whether it be illicit drug deals, the unruly storms for which Florida is notorious, or even a personal emotional turmoil of perhaps love or death.

Ossified Cosmos

Wire sculpture in motion, 2014.

Minister of Power

Installation for solo show "Mi Tormenta" - Tub Gallery Miami, 2014.

In my work I reinvent landscapes that communicate extremes of the macro and micro worlds that serve as arenas for a human story. Strength and fragility are prevalent themes as are the explorations of interactions and disconnections. This creates an environment by which the viewer can engage and consider these conversations as they navigate through or around the sculptures and installations. In my process of construction and deconstruction, adding and subtracting, I work towards finding an emotional and intellectual core of these invented spaces.

Materials such as barbed wire; tangled fishing line attached to fishing hooks; broken mirrors covered in dried salt water; and cement, landscape, sculptures shape my solo show titled “Mi Tormenta” (My Storm). I use the elements in my installations to reflect both chaos and order and the tension that ensues from this intercourse. This metaphor also extends to an emotional experience: the uncertainty that comes with unbridled events, such as the connection or disunity between things or people — creating potentially threatening circumstances out of one’s control.

The concept for this exhibition was conceived while working at the Fountainhead artist residency in Miami the Spring of 2014. Next door to the Fountainhead studios in Little Haiti lies the remains of a drug den razed to the ground by the FBI in November 2013. As I searched through the rubble, the idea began to develop. I collected the scattered, empty crack bags, barbed wire, seeds from the trees and the rubble itself as a starting point. Reflecting on the chaos of drug addicts, their desperation and emotional range, the atmosphere of this environment, and the conflict of the illegality of these interactions, resulted in the concept of a storm. A reflection on the many manifestations of a tempest, whether it be illicit drug deals, the unruly storms for which Florida is notorious, or even a personal emotional turmoil of perhaps love or death.

The making of NGC 1003 & NGC 0913

Installation for the group show "Hard Edged: Geometrical Abstraction and Beyond" at the California African American Museum (CAAM) - 2016

The quilt my Jamaican great aunt made for me, when I was young, inspired the work for “Hard Edged”. She made one for each of her grand nieces and nephews. In my early 20’s her sister, my grandmother taught me how to crochet. I keep my great Aunt’s quilt in the studio, which led me to making this installation comprised of 2 quilts crocheted out of metal wire hanging from the ceiling. One quilt represents my great aunt and the other quilt represents my grandmother, my elders that have passed on. The title of the work is NGC 1003 & NGC 0913. NGC stands for New General Catalogue. All of the galaxies are named “NGC” followed by a number. These particular numbers in the title represent the birth dates of my grandmother and my great aunt. There is a third sister who I will be making another quilt for in the near future. The squares in “NGC 1003 & NGC 0913” represent geometry, which represents mathematics, the tool we use to understand the universe. In fact, the physicist Max Tegmark argues it is not only that we measure the universe through mathematics but also that the universe is mathematics. So in a sense I felt as though I was creating new parallel universes. I thought about the fact that the installation had both a 2d and a 3d element, which led me to consider the 4th dimension, time/movement. This propelled me to making the work kinetic. It has a soft slight movement, as though the wind or perhaps the spirits of my elders just passed through the room and gently moved the work. As you look at it closer you realize an invisible fishing line leading to a hidden motor is moving the installation. So in this work I am applying both the personal and the universal, contemplating on the geometry of life.

Interstellar, gravitational, subaquatic, coral dwellings - Installation for a group show "Inside the Quad", Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College - 2014. Interstellar, subaquatic, gravitational, coral dwellings is the latest in my site specific installations engaging with the architecture and transformation of spaces. Using visuals derived from details of landscapes, seascapes and aspects of the universe, the work explores the human story between the micro and the macro. Relationships, points of interactions, the connections and disconnections between things as well as people interest me. I use cartographic and tectonic imagery, as well as things that create a large body of movement in space, such as masses and swarms. Lines of spray painted washers, fishing line weights, twist pins and sliders attached to wire create both the tendrils and the amorphous-like bodies to which they are connected. The tendrils stream and criss-cross up into the 20 foot wide skylight; creating a dual effect of a plant life or sea creature in its habitat, or perhaps two dwarf stars with trails of newborn stars within a nebulae in the universe. 

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