Carcias de Recuerdos (Caress of Memories) by Maribel Portela, Mexico
Carcias de Recuerdos (Caress of Memories) Hand Series, 2004 Maribel Portela, Mexico clay, pigment, custom made metal stand 18" high x 11" wide x 5" deep
This sculpture was one of five created for Maribel Portela's solo exhibition at Quintana Galleries in 1984. Maribel wanted to incorporate the Buddhist mudras, or hand gestures, into her clay sculpture so heavily influenced by the works from early mesoamerican civilizations. In Carcias de Recuerdos, the hand is in the Vitarka mudra which represents the wheel of law.
Maribel Portela was born in 1960 in Mexico D.F.She obtained her degree in fine art at the prestigious Escuela National de Artes Plasticas at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).Portela’s clay sculpture, while unmistakably within the genre of contemporary fine art, maintains its roots in the pre-Columbian figurative works of Mexico.The rich flavors of these magical figures form a substantial presence in Portela’s ceramic works.
Portela brings a primal, subtle and sophisticated body of clay objects inspired by the richly colored and highly adaptable flora of Mexico. Portela’s sculptures, in various media, combine elements of traditional, religious, and pre-Hispanic symbols taken from sacred cultures, to create art that is relevant in our modern world. As an artist, Portela has stayed clear of political agendas, social pronouncements, and religious or anti-religious statements which have characterized much of Mexico’s contemporary art.Instead, she remains nonpartisan, content to express and give form to the mystical energy which she perceives around her.Portela is dedicated to art’s capacity as an expressive vehicle, yet one that is unburdened by dogma or rhetoric.Free of ulterior agendas, Portela’s work becomes a uniquely pure expression of the joy and wonder which are such integral parts of her personality.
"I had a friend who used to say that our body--wrinkles, shapes, colors, etc.--spoke.I fell in love with those words, which for me contain a lot of truth--although maybe I don’t have what it takes to understand the body’s language.My figures of tattooed men tell a story.We’re all tattooed inside; we have terrible and wonderful tattoos. Imagine that your life story began on your forehead and ended on your big toe; you wouldn’t be able to deceive me, nor could I fool you." - Maribel Portela, 2003