GISELA COLON (Canada, b. 1966) is an American contemporary artist who has developed a unique sculptural language of “organic minimalism,” breathing life-like qualities into reductive forms. Originally from Puerto Rico, Colon’s diverse background brings a cross-cultural approach to her practice. Colon’s seductive, sleek, gender-fluid sculptures advance the discourse of minimalism, by disrupting the traditional staid view of the hyper-masculine cold industrial object.
Colon's organic forms embody qualities of energy, movement and growth, merging the industrial with the natural. Oscillating between masculine and feminine, primitive and futuristic, liquid and solid, fecund and phallic, inert and biological, Colon's objects possess a confluence of polarities that take the minimal object to a new frontier, a new world where the man-made becomes alive in a post-human ontological reality.
Colon's oeuvre encompasses several distinct sculptural forms: Pods, Slabs, Monoliths, and Portals. The ideological premise of Colon’s language of asymmetrical radiant forms is the concept of the "mutable object”or “non-specific object,” a descriptive term utilized to convey their deliberate fluid indeterminacy. The sculptures are conceived as variable objects that transmute their physical qualities through fluctuating movement, varied lighting, changing environmental conditions, the passage of time, and the subjective perceptual experience of the viewer. Colon's organic volumes are pristinely smooth-surfaced, and present no right angles, corners, edges, or visual demarcations, extending the historical development and progression of the minimal object beyond the dominant geometry of hard-edge forms.
Born to a German mother and Puerto Rican father, Colon was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico (since 1967), and attended University of Puerto Rico (BA 1987). She identifies an early influence of Latin American OpArt and Kinetic artists such as Jésus Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez. Colon's sculptural work continues a conversation with Latin American geometric modernism and the legacy of OpArt. In 2019, as part of that continuing dialogue, Colon's work was presented alongside the work of Carlos Cruz-Diez in Brussels, Belgium.
Colon moved from Puerto Rico to her adoptive home-city of Los Angeles to attend graduate school at Southwestern University (JD 1990). Her life in Los Angeles exposed her to the ideals and practices of the California Light and Space movement. Colon’s friendship with several of the artists of that movement, such as DeWain Valentine, Mary Corse, Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, etc., and the theories of Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Judy Chicago, and others, have influenced her sculptural practice, increasing her focus on issues of visual perception, materiality, and gender.
Colon also has been influenced by Minimalism, particularly the work of Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Agnes Martin, amongst others. Colon credits the writings of Donald Judd and frequent visits to Chinati, Marfa, Texas, and Judd’s 101 Spring Street studio, as important to the development of the theories underlying her practice.
Colon’s sculpture resides in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Castellani Art Museum, Niagara, NY; Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO; Grand Rapids Museum of Art (GRAM), Grand Rapids, MI; Palm Springs Art Museum (PSAM), Palm Springs, CA; Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA; and the Fredrick R. Weisman Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, amongst others. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles.