Welcome to my blog! Visit my Website at WWW.ARTBYTANYATORRES.COM to see the galleries organized by theme.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Exhibition dedicated to Lola Rodríguez de Tió

If you are in Puerto Rico, please come! There will be all sorts of activities dedicated to this great woman of the world, born in my wonderful little town! Lola, Lolísima:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August in Progress

In my last post I wrote a wish. The wish came true.

This has been the most blissful, productive and evolutionary month of my art life in several years.

It all started when, a couple of months before leaving to Europe in March, I received a call from an old friend, Guido Barletta Segarra, proposing an exhibition in Puerto Rico. That one exhibition became 2 exhibitions, one in the original site, El Museo de los Próceres de Cabo Rojo (Museum of the Great Leaders or Eminent People of Puerto Rico in Cabo Rojo) and a second one in my hometown, San Germán, celebrating one of those great people, Lola Rodríguez de Tió, a poet and patriot who wrote the Puerto Rican revolutionary anthem and was also a great literary figure well recognized in Puerto Rico, Latin America and Europe.

I could not say no because, not long before this I had expressed the need to do something significant, and away from New York. It had been a long time since I last had traveled with my art, and while the trip to Europe was planned and grand, I confess that it was not exactly what my soul needed. It was more of a preparation for what my soul needed :)

The problem: I had to go to Europe for 2 months, them come back to New York and organize on a gigantic event in 2 months, The Mary Magdalene Celebration, and then I could sit down and work on the 2 exhibitions. This left me with 1 month and a half or less to actually produce the work.

If I had had any time to think, I would have been scared and anguished. But I couldn't stop so I just did what I had to do.

My method in these extreme situations is to work while working. If you ever read Memoir of a Geisha then you know what this means. The girl would practice mentally the other tasks while she studied something else in order to be able to accomplish what was required. In other words, I thought a lot, all the time.

So as soon as the Mary Magdalene Celebration was accomplished, I began to work on the 2 shows. And that's when I felt loved and loving again. I started working and the work started flowing and I am happy.  I was the happiest I have ever been in several years even though nothing changed, I am working in the same small space (my room!) with no air conditioning and the bed calling to me at all times.

I still have work to complete in these last few days before I leave with the 2 sets of work to Puerto Rico. But I feel it will continue to go well. Here are some pieces that I have completed so far.

Puerto Rican Pantheon

I designed this exhibition as a portable and adaptable work using simple and beautiful materials that evoke saints, shrouds, memorials, an impression of the person and a larger than life being. I call them by their first name, slightly familiar, slightly disrespectful or humanizing? These are our secular saints, but what do we know about them? They are also all dead: are we able as a nation to conjure a leader who bears their wisdom, talent, commitment and sacrifice? Are they our guides or just a memory that will die with a few more generations? These are some thoughts guiding this work.

Eugenio by Tanya Torres. Ink on Cotton Fabric. 36" x 5 yards. 2017

Julia by Tanya Torres. Ink on Cotton Fabric. 36" x 5 yards. 2017

Pedro by Tanya Torres. Ink on Cotton Fabric. 36" x 5 yards. 2017

Mariana by Tanya Torres. Ink on Cotton Fabric. 36" x 5 yards. 2017

Illegible Writing and Indecipherable Thoughts: History Not Written and Not Read
7 pieces. Acrylic and Ink on Canvas. 10” x 10”.  2017
Series of 7 artworks, acrylic and ink on canvas. 
 About the feeling of not having words to tell the story of the island or my own story. About the story that doesn't make it to print, but impacts memory.

5. (illegible writing) 

1. (zoology) 
a. shrew 
2. (colloquial) 
a. no direct translation 
mirar a las musarañas to stare into space o thin air
3. (colloquial) 
a. no direct translation 
pensar en las musarañas to have one's head in the clouds

7 Painful Memories/7 PEQUEÑOS RECUERDOS DOLOROSOS by Tanya Torres
A line of handkerchiefs hanging from a cord. Hilera de pañuelos colgados de un cordel.
9” x 9”, Tela de algodón, papel periódico, hilo, tinta, medio acrílico. 2017.

These are memories my grandmother shared with me when I was a child. They tell the story of the Puerto Rican jíbaros, farmers who struggled to survive. I will post more about this piece when I have the photos of the installation at the museum.

During my research I learned that the Puerto Rican jíbaro acquired a reputation for laziness. But the fact is that they were tired because they had no shoes. As they walked on the earth with their bare feet, parasites penetrated their skin. These parasites caused a terrible and chronic anemia. This work is titled 7 Painful Memories, based on the memories of my grandmother's childhood. I constantly pestered her for stories of "cuando eras chiquita" and she would tell me about her childhood of poverty and need.

7 Painful Memories (Test on the wall)

The memories of my grandmother, on embroidered handkerchiefs. The women of Puerto Rico embroidered and sewed and kept their families fed with their hand and their needles during the early decades of the 20th Century. They couldn't really use the handkerchiefs they embroidered by candlelight to dry their tears.

Exhibition in San Germán, My Hometown

During my research about Lola Rodríguez de Tió I realized that while Ramón Emeterio Betances is called "Padre de la Patria" (Father of the Nation), this woman, who was a poet and a patriot, who was exiled to Cuba by the Spanish when they still owned Puerto Rico, who was from my town and who was well known and recognized as a poet and thinker, a true feminist at heart who also was a wife and a mother, who lost 5 children out of 6 births, who was friends with the 2 most important figures of the time Eugenio María de Hostos and Ramón Emeterio Betances, and who nobody in my generation and many generations before and after studied or fully knew, was the mother of the Puerto Rican Nation. So I have given her the title she deserves. And the exhibition is named the same: Madre de la Patria. Her daughter was also nicknamed Patria (from Patricia) so she used to say "Siempre llevo la Patria conmigo." This was the inspiration for the painting, her role as a mother in real life and her role as a patriot, mother of the nation.

I am working on more pieces, not yet ready to publish here!

Madre de la Patria by Tanya Torres. 36" x 72", acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 2017.
Madre de la Patria by Tanya Torres. 36" x 72", acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 2017.

Detail: Madre de la Patria by Tanya Torres. 36" x 72", acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 2017.

Detail: Madre de la Patria by Tanya Torres. 36" x 72", acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 2017.