Her story, her ritual: the work of Sandra Monterroso
Posted on May - 23 - 2018
If there is an artist that successfully adopts traditional and indigenous materials in a visual and symbolic language used in contemporary art practices is Guatemalan artist Sandra Monterroso. A graphic designer by trade, Monterroso belongs to the generation of post-civil war artists that appropriated international techniques such as performance and conceptual art to communicate national issues. Monterroso’s work has evolved through different subject matters, mediums, and techniques; however, it has proven to be characterized by a secure connection with her family heritage and the role of women in Guatemalan society, compared to the rest of the world.
As she once stated, although she eluded a categorization of her work, Monterroso affirms that her work exhibits recurring themes around the ritual and is infused with autobiographic undertones. Through performances, paintings, and sculptures, Monterroso’s trajectory has also been a tribute to her own family and the women in it, who have colored her research and life with their stories and sometimes harsh realities that echo the ones endured by many women throughout the region.
Monterroso has managed to produce a body of work permeated with postcolonial and decolonial theories and practices, her accomplishments as an artist have earned her local and international recognition. From 2013, she was based in Viena, Austria, where she was a Ph.D. candidate at the Academy of Arts, Vienna until 2017 when she came back to Guatemala. The same year she had two solo exhibitions “Inchaq’na / Hermana Mayor” at the French Alliance and “Distorsiones e Imperfecciones,” at the 9.99 Gallery, both in Guatemala City.
In Scoop Art, the work that Monterroso presents is a series unified by the appropriation of essential elements of modernity that traditionally are associated with ideal compositions and balanced proportions. In her watercolors and paintings, these symbols of modernity are distorted and reconfigured to represent the injuries of the failed promise of progress and the wounds that have not healed. Using local dyes, she uses the achote to charge her paintings and sculptures with an ancestral plant that has accompanied the history of her country for generations.
Monterroso’s work is both poetic and striking. We invite you to admire her chromatic compositions, which are colored by her personal story and resonate with the history and culture of Guatemala. Be sure to follow the work and artistic trajectory of one of the region’s best contemporary artist.
By: Gabriela Martínez de la Hoz