MIAMI – Venezuelan sculptor Mariana Monteagudo is keeping alive her family’s pottery tradition in works that are part of creations by a generation of young Latino artists in the United States.
Monteagudo’s best known works are dolls sculpted in papier-mache that she wraps in canvas, achieving a high level of expression.
“I always worked in ceramics until I came to the United States,” Monteagudo said in an interview with Efe.
“Here, it is more difficult to get it. To solve it and considering how fragile the material is, I have tested different materials until I obtained a texture that is similar but more resistant,” Monteagudo said.
The sculptor, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with her husband and children, was raised in a family known for the art of her grandmother, a Sephardic Jew born in Tetouan, Morocco, and her mother, both ceramists.
“My training was in drawing, and since I was a child my passion was to draw, but growing up in a family of ceramists I discovered the art works’ third dimension,” Monteagudo said.
The artist said she found inspiration in everyday objects, and her sculptures show diverse influences and subjects from pre-Columbian statuettes to pop and Japanese manga.
“I am very grateful now for growing up among artists,” she said. “It was a blessing to have a tradition so close. I feel that art and inspiration are found in unexpected places and that is why my work has so many influences.”
Earlier this month, Monteagudo won the Tequila Herradura Barrel Art Collection contest, which requires competitors to make an art work out of a traditional oak barrel.
“I called my entry ‘Happy Barrel’ because I liked the barrel, as an object, but it was challenging to work on with its texture, size and volume,” Monteagudo said.
The barrel designed by the artist, who used her mixed media technique on papier mache, canvas and paint, shows a smiling face.
“It celebrates tequila, something fun inside an object that just in its manufacture carries a lot of tradition,” Monteagudo said.