La Gente Series: Hombre, Sculpture by Maribel Portela, Mexico
La Gente Series: Hombre, c. 1995 sculpture by Maribel Portela, Mexico pumice, metal stand 8” high x 7.5” wide x 4.5” deep
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 creates primal, subtle and sophisticated objects in paper, clay, and stone. Her figures are inspired by the richly colored and highly adaptable flora of Mexico. Portela’s sculptures combine elements of traditional, religious, and pre-Hispanic influences 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 bodies, wrinkles, shapes, colors, etc., spoke.I fell in love with those words, which for me contains a lot of truth." - Maribel Portela 2003, excerpt from Earthly Bodies.