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MUSEU NACIONAL DA REPÚBLICA
SCAD MUSEUM OF ART
The Feminist Divine
August 10, 2022 - January 2, 2023
Gisela Colón’s dynamic sculptures offer mutable, perceptual experiences through the refraction, reflection, and emission of light. Generated with advanced production methods such as carbon fiber casting meant for aerospace applications, Colón’s curvilinear forms emanate a seductive, iridescent glow, fluctuating in color based on environmental conditions and where the viewer stands in relation to the work. Colón coined the term “Organic Minimalism” to describe the dual condition of her work: reductive, yet active and seemingly alive. While situated within the lineage of Minimalism, Colón’s practice refuses the stasis and rigidity of structure typical of work by her male predecessors, embracing the transformative and transcendent. Informed by the natural world and rich biodiversity of her home island of Puerto Rico, her work invokes the “feminine divine” as a method of creating space for underrepresented peoples.
Colón’s exhibition focuses on two of the artist’s most well-known bodies of work: pods and monoliths. The wall-mounted pods are biomorphic structures akin to amoebas, cells, seeds, or viruses. Their graceful forms are composed of layers of translucent acrylic with a visible core. Hung directly on the gallery’s early 19th-century hand-wrought Savannah Gray Brick wall, the immaculate sculptures stand in stark contrast to the textured and porous surface, juxtaposing the historic and futuristic. Pristine vertical structures with rich surfaces, the monoliths radiate cosmological pearlescent swirls and rise from the ground like the ancient and mysterious constructions that span cultures and time, from Egyptian obelisks to Scandinavian runestones. The works on view form part of a distinct body in the artist’s larger oeuvre and are presented cohesively for the first time. Their scattered configuration in the gallery directs visitors to weave between their shimmering surfaces to experience the alchemical material that fuses science and mystery.
In the painting Pinnacle (El Yunque), 1996, Oil on canvas, the monolith form manifests as a painterly abstraction, rising from a verdant ambiguous background. This depiction is an early appearance of the structure that is currently a principal occupation of the artist's sculptural practice. The monolith shown here is conjured from the artist's observations and experiences in El Yunque, the tropical rainforest of her home of Puerto Rico. Here, Colón explores the natural environment of her childhood and includes the ancient enigmatic form that will later be melded with the futuristic through her exploration of light, space, and perception in sculpture.
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