This is the first survey of María Berrío’s art, presenting her mature work and including two new pieces. Berrío’s large-scale, brilliantly colored collages are meticulously crafted from unique papers sourced from South America and Asia, especially Japan. She creates scenes within the realm of “magical realism,” a hallmark of Latin American literature to which she relates her work; but, she is also firmly engaged with contemporary practices and the art of her peers.
Lush landscapes and modest domestic interiors are dominated by women who gaze directly at the viewer. The inaction of these ethereal and expressionless characters belies the turmoil and anxiety of their passage to their current surroundings while unflinching in the certainty of their presence. They also characterize Berrío’s own path. Her family history is a testament to the experiences which inspire her subject matter as an immigrant and independent woman in America. She is native to Bogotá, Colombia, (born, 1982) and traveled as a young adult with her family to America to escape the country’s unstable political climate. When her family returned, Berrío was compelled by her devotion as an artist to remain alone in America and successfully completed a BFA in 2004 at the Parsons School of Design and an MFA in 2007 from the School of Visual Arts.
Speaking of the women in her work, Berrío has written, “They are embodied ideals of femininity. The ghostly pallor of their skin suggests an otherworldliness; they appear to be more spirit that flesh. These are the women I want to be: strong, vulnerable, compassionate, courageous, and in harmony with themselves and nature. They combine the elements of women who are typically thought of as powerful – the captains of industry, resolute politicians, fiery activists – with the traits of those who are not usually thought of as such, thereby underlining the common force found in all women.”
Cheryl Brutvan Director of Curatorial AffairsGlenn W. and Cornelia T. Bailey Curator of Contemporary Art