2009 - 2013, frescoes, chair, brocade, glass beads, alabaster beads, chains, 7’ x 7’ x 4’
The installation considers the physical/social/spiritual sacrifices made to conform. Bruises, lacerations, contusions, stand for the abuses imposed by self and others and question the lengths traversed to attain our desires and the desires themselves.
Symbolic objects imbued with spirituality, idolatry and power including gold, beads, jewels, medals, stones, altars and offerings are pervasive though out Esperanza Cortes’ sculptures. Through her work these articles of faith, both secular and religious, challenge the rites and rights that accompany them. In “What Was Left” Cortes examines the incarnation of religious, cultural and political ideologies that shape our experiences as individuals and communities.
Witnesses to the influences of unquestioned conviction, her iconoclastic sculptures guide us through worlds of dogma and doctrine revealing the malleability of embodied beliefs—words made flesh and stone. Through a deconstruction of the architectural and ecclesiastical foundations upon which social constructs are built such as gender, race, ethics and status, Cortes explores the unsustainable utopian visions they can create. Exposing the reality behind unwavering systems of belief and collective behavior, her work is a profound testament to the fragility and vulnerability of society and its effect upon us.
Born in Colombia and now based in New York, Cortes has been exhibited nationally in galleries and museums including The Neuberger Museum of Art (Purchase, New York), DeLand Museum of Art (DeLand, Florida), The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art (Staten Island, New York), The Mexi-Arte Museum (Austin, Texas), The Bergen Museum (Paramus, New Jersey), The Bronx Museum of Art, The Longwood Arts Project, The Queens Museum of Art, The Jamaica Art Center, Henry Street Abrons Art Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, El Museo del Barrio, The Museum of Contemporary Art and PS.1 MoMA. Internationally she has shown in Germany, Hungary, Columbia, and Japan including Nishi-ku/Yokohama Museum of Art (Yokohama, Japan) The Museum of Arts and Crafts (Itami-shi, Hyogo, Japan) and El Museo de Arte Moderno (Cartagena, Columbia).
She has received numerous awards and grants for her work from institutions such as The Mott Foundation, Socrates Sculpture Park, New York State Biennial, Robert Rauchenberg Foundation and most recently the Altos de Chavon Artist in Residence in the Dominican Republic.
In addition to her work Cortes is a music, dance and fine arts teacher and lecturer. She has collaborated extensively with cultural centers, museums and universities throughout New York such as Yaffa Cultural Arts, Columbia University, The Museum of the City of New York, El Museo del Barrio, The Bronx Council of the Arts and The Museum of Modern Art.
Curator Christine Licata
2008 - 2013, chandelier, metal chains, glass beads,metal gold leaf, brass embroidered velvet, 13’ x4’
A large hanging work looms at 13 feet, it an elaborate gold leafed chandelier with a multitude of gold plated brass chains. I attract the viewer to the excessiveness of colonialism which has led to our currant situation with the world bank.
2008, Clay, string, 100" L x 80" W
1999 - 2012, Frescoes, beaded clay sculptures, glass beads, chains clay,wood, glass, 13’ x 3 1/2’ dia.
Esperanza Cortes’s labor -intensive Sculptures are based on chains stitched from tiny glass beads. One piece, suspended From the ceiling and hung with handmade amulets and charms, has a dense but attenuated presence.
The New York Times
2008 glass beads on clay, bottle, mirrors, cow jaw bone silver ladle, compass, encaustic on wood
48” L x 40” H x 20” D
Clay, altar, beads, ribbons, 48” x 24” x 36”
Altar for the forgottenMemories - In the desire to become a citizen of the first world there is so much important personal and ancestral history that we shed in order acclimate to this culture, often giving up the best of ourselves.
Doll crib, ladder, ribbon, glass beads, pigment
60" H x 20" w x 28" D
2008 glass beads on clay sculptures, shelf, mirrors, 48” x24” x 9”
2009, glass beads on clay, mirror, base 44” diameterx 10” H
This installation is inspired by the obsession in our culture over beauty and plastic surgery. Loss of what is beauty.