by distilling situations and events to elemental forms and attenuating the signs by which we readily register meaning, these works function as documents of quiet and fleeting moments of sensorial experience. they attempt to open up a contemplative space for the viewer in which the moment between observation and conceptualization can be suspended, if only briefly, and understood corporeally, unencumbered by immediate notions of meaning. moreover, the references to my personal history inherent in some of my works, more than pointing to the biographical, seek to provide context for questions of visual perception. to explore how the interplay between self and place is constituted, and how the filters we accumulate as we move from place to place affect our perception of things.

- Marisa Telleria
 

On recent FAIRS (2014-2017) by M Telleria 

In these works, as in most of my works in the last few years, my interest in visual perception persists; in understanding how we respond to physical phenomena particularly within quiet, seemingly unaltered situations that require slower viewing and experiencing. This selection of works consists of studies of light and color via objects and interventions, including a wall that not only supports the objects but echoes their physical and atmospheric qualities through surfaces, gradations of colors and shadows. While the works were done at different times and conceived as autonomous pieces, this time I wanted to present them in a shared and “activated’’ space, in an intimate dialogue among themselves and with the wall behind them, while still retaining their own voice. The intention is to create a contemplative environment where object, shadow and space, all interconnected, make room for introspection and sensorial experience. This is a space where things, however invisible, can still be understood at a corporeal level, where objects are experienced in terms of their intensity of existence, unencumbered by preconceived notions of meaning.

also persistent in these works is my ongoing interest in the coexistence of opposites, where materials exist not only for their “physicalness” but for their perceptual presence, a presence that points not only to what’s there but also to what’s not. The materiality and “hereness” of the 2d/3d objects made out of plaster, wood or plexiglas vs. the luminous, illusory quality of negative space and shadows as they are emphasized by the chosen paint, fabric, paper or thread. Thus, materials are an essential part of my personal vocabulary as I invite viewers to to engage in sensorial (synesthetic) experiences and expand their own process of observation and conceptualization.  


On “Still” exhibition at Frost Museum of Arts Miami, 2014, by Klaudio Rodriguez (curator)

"Still" presents a series of new works by Marisa Tellería in which perception and aesthesis are not only the key to understanding, but the essential subject of the artworks. These original groups of works, which mark a new formalistic approach, were created specifically for the space they inhabit, and set the course for many of her subsequent investigations. 

The seed for these works were planted several years ago after a turbulent period in the artist’s life, when she found herself at a crossroads, ultimately questioning and reassessing the nature of her practice. During a period of self-reflection, she found the need to unload, unburden and simplify herself, and her work, both physically and spiritually. She was compelled to be still, to get rid of all the noise around her, to once again be one-on-one with the work. This decision led her to turn away from the creation of concrete art objects. The new works have dematerialized and become transitory, they are ephemeral and short-lived. The works turn towards sensory perception itself. Tellería constructs these perception-altering structures whose form and presence waver and feint until your eyes and the rest of you become destabilized. She deconstructs the concept from the precept and in doing so liberates the objects from their utilitarian condition so they can become much more. She aims to detach the label from the object thereby releasing us from our own labels and in doing so, altering the viewers’ perceptions. She wants the viewer to relate with the fleeting impermanence of the work. To embrace the sense of reverie in the discovery, of that small moment where you notice it and then its gone, bringing awareness to the visitor of their own impermanence. This is accomplished through the absence of narrative, the reflections of the light on the surfaces, the shadows, and the invisibility of the objects, the ever-changing optical nature of the works as you move through the space and the use of the familiar.

Concerned with understanding the processes involved in how we see and perceive, and the sensory experiences attached, Tellería is interested in the play between the work, the viewer and the moment when they meet. At this moment, the viewer becomes more aware than before that they themselves are establishing relationships as they apprehend the object from various positions and under varying conditions of light and spatial context. The site-specific installations heighten visitors’ sensory responses, associations and memories by appealing to all the senses. Rather than employing representational strategies, she privileges the experiential situational based work over individual objects. Employing simple, humble materials such as wire, tulle, string, wood and light, shadow, and the space itself, the exhibition becomes a spatial and perceptual event, which has become a creative medium in and of itself. Tellería challenges the viewers’ assumptions and explores their influence on human perception. This perception is a deeply felt, embodied experience, which suggests that all our senses are involved in seeing. 

Tellería aims to resensitize people to their everyday surroundings and, moreover, to one another in a time when so much conspires against human connection. This intimate, personal art experience alerts the viewer to the latent potential for beauty in pure phenomena, as well as in worldly things.


En "Still", Marisa Tellería presenta una serie de obras nuevas donde percepción y estética no sólo son clave para entenderlas, sino que, además, constituyen el tema esencial en torno al cual giran las mismas. Estos originales conjuntos de obras, que representan un nuevo enfoque formalista, se han creado pensando específicamente en el espacio que las alberga, y marcan la pauta para muchas de las investigaciones posteriores de su autora. 

Los prolegómenos de estos trabajos se gestaron hace varios años, tras un período turbulento en la vida de la artista, quien se encontró en una encrucijada que, en última instancia, la obligó a cuestionarse y a reevaluar la naturaleza de su actividad artística. Durante este período de auto-reflexión, Tellería descubrió que necesitaba descargarse, liberarse y simplificar su persona y su vida, tanto física como espiritualmente. Se sintió obligada a permanecer en silencio, a librarse del ruido que la rodeaba, a recuperar su relación íntima y personalísima con el trabajo. Esta decisión la condujo a alejarse de la creación de objetos artísticos concretos, y así, sus nuevas piezas se han desmaterializado, se han convertido en transitorias: son efímeras y, por tanto, de corta vida. Son obras que reclaman la propia percepción sensorial. Tellería construye ahora unas estructuras que, con su forma y su presencia, alteran la percepción, la “engañan” y la hacen vacilar hasta conseguir que tanto los ojos del espectador como incluso el resto de su persona se sientan desestabilizados. La artista deconstruye el concepto del precepto y, al hacerlo, también libera a los objetos de su condición utilitaria, para que puedan ser mucho más. Su objetivo es separar la etiqueta del objeto, y así liberarnos de nuestras propias etiquetas –y a su vez, como resultado, alterar la percepción de los espectadores. Es decir, quiere que el espectador se relacione con la temporalidad efímera de la obra; que interiorice y haga suyo el sentido de ensoñación que surge en el descubrimiento del instante en que percibe –instante que inmediatamente se desvanece–, y así conseguir que el visitante sea consciente de su propia “impermanencia”. Esto se logra a través de la ausencia de narrativa; de los reflejos de la luz sobre las superficies, las sombras y la invisibilidad de los objetos y, asimismo, gracias a la siempre cambiante naturaleza óptica de las obras, perceptible a medida que el espectador se mueve a través del espacio y el uso de lo familiar.

Interesada en comprender los procesos que intervienen en la forma en que vemos y percibimos –y en las experiencias sensoriales correspondientes--, Tellería indaga sobre el “juego” entre la obra, el espectador y el momento en que ambos se encuentran. En ese momento, el espectador es más consciente que antes de que “él mismo está estableciendo relaciones a medida que aprehende el objeto desde distintas posiciones y con condiciones variables de luz y contexto espacial”. Las instalaciones “in situ” intensifican las respuestas sensoriales, asociaciones y recuerdos del visitante, y apelan a todos los sentidos. En lugar de emplear estrategias de representación, Tellería se decanta por las obras basadas en la situación vivencial sobre objetos individuales. Mediante el empleo de materiales básicos, humildes, tales como alambre, tul, cuerda o madera --y luz, sombra y el espacio en sí mismo--, la exposición se torna en un acontecimiento espacial y perceptivo, que, a su vez, se ha convertido en un medio creativo por y en sí mismo. Tellería desafía las nociones preconcebidas del espectador y explora su influencia en la percepción humana. Esta percepción es una experiencia profundamente incorporada y sentida, lo que sugiere que cuando “vemos” todos nuestros sentidos están involucrados. 

Tellería pretende “re-sensibilizar” a la gente con respecto a su entorno cotidiano y, lo que es más, resensibilizarlos entre sí en un momento como el presente, en el que tantas cosas conspiran contra la conexión humana. Esta experiencia artística, íntima y personal, alerta al espectador sobre el potencial latente de belleza que existe no sólo en los fenómenos puros, sino también en las cosas mundanas.

 

Marisa Tellería experiencias sensoriales íntimas
Janet Batet, Especial/el Nuevo Herald

En 1916, Constantin Brancusi, considerado el patriarca de la escultura moderna, realizaba su icónica Sculpture for the Blind (Escultura para ciegos). A partir de la sinestesia esencial impuesta por el título, la pulida forma ovoide hecha en mármol obligaba a una reformulación de los derroteros del arte y, en específico, del proceso perceptivo y el uso de los denominados materiales “nobles” en el arte.

La obra de Marisa Tellería (Nicaragua, 1963) se inscribe dentro de ese vasto camino inaugurado por Brancusi. Graduada de escultura de la Florida International University (FIU) en 1993 y luego, en 1996, con una maestría también en escultura en la Virginia Commonwealth University, Tellería ha estado obsesionada desde el comienzo de su carrera en la re-significación de materiales ordinarios. Ya sean estos materiales procedentes del mundo industrial (como es el caso de la fibra de vidrio y el yeso con los que la artista ha experimentado magistralmente) o materiales anodinos de nuestro entorno cotidiano como algodón, papel o telas, entre tantos otros, Tellería trastoca estos materiales despojándolos de las asociaciones funcionales chatas para generar nuevas relaciones sensoriales. Still, su más reciente muestra personal, ahora abierta en el Frost Art Museum de FIU es expresión tangible de ello.

La exposición, dominada por instalaciones específicas realizadas en técnica mixta, se apoya en materiales maleables como mallas, tul de colores o alambres, que devienen motivo progresivo generador de una estructura orgánica que pareciera en pleno estado de expansión. Este cambio de enfoque con respecto al material –sutil y radical a un tiempo, genera en el receptor una mirada transfigurada, capaz ahora de vivenciar la riqueza poética de la que son portadores estos materiales otrora clasificados por el arte como “ordinarios” o “groseros”.

Tellería ha recreado tres ambientes temporales de inmersión integrados por pequeños gestos y combinación de materiales simples que generan una atmósfera de suspensión esencial al estado psicológico que persigue la artista: esa suerte de ralentí que nos lleva de la mano a la introspección y el diálogo íntimo con la pieza.

En las instalaciones ahora expuestas en el Frost, la organicidad con la que Tellería ha abordado el material y el carácter de progresión con que es tratado el motivo, hace que la malla, tul y alambre se trastoquen en entidades vivientes que, ante nuestra fascinación, parecen brotar de las paredes o el suelo de la galería.

“En estas obras, así como a lo largo de mi trayectoria -apunta Tellería, lo que persiste es mi interés por la percepción; mi interés por entender la forma en que vemos (y no) y cómo respondemos a los fenómenos físicos. La selección de los materiales juega un papel vital en tanto vocabulario personal que obliga al espectador a implicarse en experiencias sensoriales íntimas, de modo que ellos puedan relacionarse con los objetos, ambientes y situaciones a nivel corporal ampliando su propio proceso de observación y conceptualización de manera que puedan percibir, aunque sea brevemente, las cosas por la intensidad de su existencia y sin el estorbo de las nociones preconcebidas de significado."
 

Transitioning... on exhibition at fusebox gallery, 2003, by M Telleria

Interior vs exterior up until now, I had found sources of meaning in my immediate surroundings, where the sense of place was expressed in the context of interior spaces, particularly in the relationship between domestic objects and the body. My current focus on exterior environments springs from a need to flnd meaning beyond the insularity of interior spaces and defne a broader sense of place. It was also an effort to widen my own means of expression by bringing more life into art and to strike a more personal tone in the work. The metaphorical references to my personal history, more than pointing to the biographical, serve to provide context for questions of visual perception. To explore how the exchange between self and place is constituted, and how the fillters we accumulate from place to place affect our perception of things.

Shifting scale working on a smaller scale responds to a need to recover the strength and freshness behind the “non-heroic” gestures of smaller work. In previous room size installations and other large scale 3-d works, immediacy and spontaneity were often buried under layers of labor-intensive processes .Here, I wanted to make work that speaks less of its own making, and that suggests an elusive quality beyond its “objectness”. Small objects and images capable of occupying immense spaces mentally, psychologically. Yet, rather than engullng viewers in the space all at once, overtaking their consciousness and prescribing the terms of engagement with the work, this work invites viewers in for closer observation, allowing them to gradually discover the work at their own pace. It leaves it up to them to determine their proximity to the work based on their own sense of “personal space.”

Attenuating the sign in keeping with my interest in prolonging the moment between observation and recognition, this work seeks to detach objects from the imagery by which we too- quickly recognize the familiar. The intention is for labels and signs to recede, allowing the viewer to experience the essence of the thing more purely, at a sensorial level, unhindered by concepts. The aim is not to provide an accurate representation of the thing, place or event, but to distill them to sensations - to that which clings to the body and persists through time and distance. 

Erasing the medium consistent with previous efforts to cross-reference media, the choice to go beyond studio- based processes and introduce photography and video as a complement to 3-d work coincided with the need to recover spontaneity and immediacy. The intention was not to showcase the possibilities of each medium, but in fact to transcend their materiality and erase the boundaries between them. Each piece speaking with its own voice, yet resonating with each other, across media, beyond formal considerations.

Opposites (still) coexisting while the sculptures and photographs speak of a sense of place, the video alludes to a space between places,neither here nor there. To a non- place.—
It introduces movement, yet it alludes to the stillness of the moment, to a static movement. To the barely perceptible passage of time. The dialogue between the tactile and the atmospheric echoes from piece to piece. Video, photographs, and sculptures, existing between flatness and depth, opacity and luminosity, density and airiness, object and image. Pointing not to the grandiose, but to the immensity of small moments.

About process

The 3-d objects in these installations were fabricated (not cast) from laminated sheets of styrofoam, carved, and covered with fiberglass and several layers of hydrocal, each layer finely sanded. Some were painted, and others were coated with flocking material. The color photographs were made from original 35mm and medium format transparencies printed digitally using an archival pigment inkjet process and mounted on board with non-glare plexiglas. The video was shot on digital video, transferred to dvd, and rear projected onto a fabricated wall with a 7” x 10” opening.