A Conversation with María Antonia Ordoñez

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Javier Martínez interviews Cuban-born, Puerto Rican artist Mariantonia Ordoñez for Autogiro. The fellow artists held a conversation about her work, including her current solo exhibition, “Tintas,” which features the artist’s latest ink drawings at the Liga de Arte [Art League] in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico (on view November 17 through December 12, 2016; see previous post at https://repeatingislands.com/2016/11/12/art-exhibition-mariantonia-ordonezs-tintas/). Here are just a few excerpts; check out the original, full interview in Autogiro:

Javier Martínez (JM): María Antonia, you have exhibited your work in solo and collective exhibitions. You have been an art teacher and illustrator, and you are master of drawing. What drives an artist with your background and training to continue creating?

Mariantonia Ordoñez (MAO): I continue to do art because I have not lost the desire. I like the physical act of drawing; it makes me happy to make images emerge from the paper. But mainly it is an adventure that connects me with something that exists within me ever since I can remember having an awareness of my Self. And this is addictive!

JM: In your work, there have always been women—the woman’s body, dressed, naked or insinuating—the idea of dance, headdresses and accessories, the spaces of home, and textile of printed patterns; and sometimes I see an influence of Degas in your work.  Why this visual language and how it has it transformed over the years?

MAO: I speak of woman and her world because it is the only entity that I know that I am, it is the most unquestionable thread connecting to my identity. I use and transform domestic and everyday life in the process of constructing the female character. As for the uses of dress, women do not have many freedoms and so many things are imposed upon us, including a certain type of dress, in order to be attractive, because that is part of our role. On the one hand, clothing oppresses us, and on the other hand, it gives us the freedom to create a fantasy, to explore characters. This contradiction is in my work. In fact, I think my work is plagued with contradictions. It is impossible to be honest without being contradictory. Regarding how it has been transformed, I think I am more aware now of what I do in technical terms, in terms of color and design. However, in terms of content, I take the liberty to paraphrase Borges: one creates but a single poem. By the way, I love Degas, so maybe there is some influence from him.

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[. . .] JM: What can you tell us about the latent theme or plot in this exhibition, “María Antonia Ordóñez: Tintas” on view at Liga de Arte?  

MAO: I am used to speaking about the feminine world, as I mentioned earlier, because it is the only thing I know that I am … I am a woman. And although the relationship between man and woman was always a subject of mine, this time the relationship of a couple is absent. They are all women, except in “Alicia en el país de los hombres perros” [Alice in the country of dog men], a subject taken from the book of Marco Polo’s travels. . . Restlessness is latent in the themes: hurricane winds, Alicia’s fear, and the dog men, and even some of the recent political events have seeped through. I had a lot of contact with my insides in creating this series. [. . .]

[First image above: Mariantonia Ordóñez’s “La sirena y sus amigas;” second image: “Alicia en el país de los hombres perros.”]

For full article, see http://autogiro.cronicaurbana.com/maria-antonia-ordonez-entrevista-liga-de-arte/

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