Mountains Are Inside Me

Gisela Colón

April 30 – June 22, 2024

Opening Reception: Tuesday, April 30, 6-8 pm

Gisela Colón in her studio, February 2024, Los Angeles, CA
 

New York, NY – Efraín López is pleased to present Mountains Are Inside Me, an exhibition of new works by Puerto Rican-American sculptor, Gisela Colón.  The exhibition will be on view from April 30 through June 22, 2024. For her first solo show at the gallery, the artist will present two new sculptural works alongside an early painting, a suite of intimately-scaled works on paper, and an architectural intervention. Mountains Are Inside Me will be accompanied by an essay authored by curator César García-Alvarez.

 

Gisela Colón’s sculptural practice explores identity, transformation, energy, time, and space. Her work is grounded in minimal organic aesthetics that refuse stasis, and instead embrace transformation and transcendence. Throughout her practice, Colón employs strategies of abstraction to both subsume and conceal the complexities of identity and personal narrative. Her work crosses geographic, political, and national boundaries, to form multicultural dialogues and create space for Latinx voices.

 

Contextualizing the origin of the monolithic form, the presentation opens with an early painting titled Pinnacle (El Yunque), 1996. Conjured from her observations and experiences in El Yunque, the tropical rainforest of her homeland in Puerto Rico, this work marks the first appearance of the monolithic structure that has become the principal occupation of Colón’s work. The artist’s use of abstraction and universal geometries belies an alternate reality shaped by complex diasporic conditions. Colón’s monoliths simultaneously evoke the fraught collective history of militarized colonialism in the Caribbean and draw upon her own layered experiences with gun violence. Shaped by a process of healing and transformation, the soaring verticality of the monoliths reflects the mountainous peaks of Puerto Rico’s captivating geology, an enduring source of materia prima for the artist. 

 

Anchoring the main exhibition space, Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita (Parabolic Monolith Hematite), builds upon Colón’s distinctive organic minimalist language while further elucidating her personal history and often-illegible identity as a diasporic Puerto Rican artist. In Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita, Colón’s use of red earth from her family’s plot of land in Arecibo connects formative moments of a childhood surrounded by violence and displacement to an early fascination with outer space and the cosmos nurtured at the Observatory de Arecibo—until recently the largest telescope in the world. A deeply personal work, Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita, is the bedrock that lies beneath the artist’s own biographical story, concealed within layers calcified by the broader implications of Puerto Rico’s stratified history with colonialism. The distinctive ochre color of Puerto Rico’s red earth comes from the mineral hematite, an iron oxide formed over time. Hematite, one of the earliest pigments used by man, appears in ancient cave drawings throughout the world, as well as on other planetary bodies. In Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita, Colón constructs a vessel that imagines an expansive cosmic world filled with the energy of nature, ancestral memories, and a universal consciousness larger than any single individual. In imagining this vast expanse of space and time, subjective lived experiences on a human scale are absorbed into the universal, infinite form of the monolith—a structure shared across time by geological formations, prehistoric archeological structures, and ancient architectures. Colón’s larger-than-life totemic structure encapsulates a transformative moment in time, where the complexities of an infinite cosmos, composed of cosmic matter and energy, swirl within its confines.

 

While rooted in Colón’s personal relationship to land and encounters with violence, Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita works to absorb the specificities of individualized negative experiences to form a transformative vessel of healing, light, and life. In this work, Colón has invited us to consider what lies beneath the surface and sits within the infinite potentiality of the cosmic world, grounded in the raw dirt that bore ancestral life on earth.

Gisela Colón (American b. 1966, Vancouver, Canada, raised 1967, San Juan, Puerto Rico) is a Puerto Rican-American artist whose 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 People.

 

Colón has exhibited internationally throughout the United States, Europe, Egypt, the Middle East, and Latin America. Notable public exhibitions include The Future is Now for the Land Art Biennial, Desert X, Godheads – Idols in Times of Crises in the Oude Warande Forest (Netherlands 2022), and One Thousand Galaxies of Light (Starfield), an immersive light installation at the Wadi Hanifa River, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (November 2022). Colón’s work was recently featured in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA’s) historical survey exhibition Light, Space, Surface: Art from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts (2021-2022), and the Frist Art Museum, Nashville TN (2022). Most recently, Colón presented a solo exhibition, The Feminist Divine, at SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia (2022).

Forthcoming institutional exhibitions and international projects include Matéria Prima, a solo exhibition at the Museu Nacional da República, Brasilia, Brazil (2024), Estados de Matéria Terrestre, an environmental art activation in Brasilia on climate change, a solo exhibition in Sao Paulo at the Instituto Artium de Cultura (2024), and Materia Prima del Caribe: Viajando Através del Tiempo con Luz, Carbón, Balas, Tierra, Agua, y Sal, a collaborative exchange project for La Bienal de la Habana, Cuba (2024).

 

Gisela Colón’s work resides in institutional collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; El Museo Del Barrio, New York, NY; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, FL; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA; Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL; Mint Museum, North Carolina; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA; Grand Rapids Museum of Art, Grand Rapids, Ml; and Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO.

 

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, the artist lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

New York, NY – Efraín López is pleased to present Mountains Are Inside Me, an exhibition of new works by Puerto Rican-American sculptor, Gisela Colón.  The exhibition will be on view from April 30 through June 22, 2024. For her first solo show at the gallery, the artist will present two new sculptural works alongside an early painting, a suite of intimately-scaled works on paper, and an architectural intervention. Mountains Are Inside Me will be accompanied by an essay authored by curator César García-Alvarez.

 

Gisela Colón’s sculptural practice explores identity, transformation, energy, time, and space. Her work is grounded in minimal organic aesthetics that refuse stasis, and instead embrace transformation and transcendence. Throughout her practice, Colón employs strategies of abstraction to both subsume and conceal the complexities of identity and personal narrative. Her work crosses geographic, political, and national boundaries, to form multicultural dialogues and create space for Latinx voices.

 

Contextualizing the origin of the monolithic form, the presentation opens with an early painting titled Pinnacle (El Yunque), 1996. Conjured from her observations and experiences in El Yunque, the tropical rainforest of her homeland in Puerto Rico, this work marks the first appearance of the monolithic structure that has become the principal occupation of Colón’s work. The artist’s use of abstraction and universal geometries belies an alternate reality shaped by complex diasporic conditions. Colón’s monoliths simultaneously evoke the fraught collective history of militarized colonialism in the Caribbean and draw upon her own layered experiences with gun violence. Shaped by a process of healing and transformation, the soaring verticality of the monoliths reflects the mountainous peaks of Puerto Rico’s captivating geology, an enduring source of materia prima for the artist. 

 

Anchoring the main exhibition space, Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita (Parabolic Monolith Hematite), builds upon Colón’s distinctive organic minimalist language while further elucidating her personal history and often-illegible identity as a diasporic Puerto Rican artist. In Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita, Colón’s use of red earth from her family’s plot of land in Arecibo connects formative moments of a childhood surrounded by violence and displacement to an early fascination with outer space and the cosmos nurtured at the Observatory de Arecibo—until recently the largest telescope in the world. A deeply personal work, Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita, is the bedrock that lies beneath the artist’s own biographical story, concealed within layers calcified by the broader implications of Puerto Rico’s stratified history with colonialism. The distinctive ochre color of Puerto Rico’s red earth comes from the mineral hematite, an iron oxide formed over time. Hematite, one of the earliest pigments used by man, appears in ancient cave drawings throughout the world, as well as on other planetary bodies. In Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita, Colón constructs a vessel that imagines an expansive cosmic world filled with the energy of nature, ancestral memories, and a universal consciousness larger than any single individual. In imagining this vast expanse of space and time, subjective lived experiences on a human scale are absorbed into the universal, infinite form of the monolith—a structure shared across time by geological formations, prehistoric archeological structures, and ancient architectures. Colón’s larger-than-life totemic structure encapsulates a transformative moment in time, where the complexities of an infinite cosmos, composed of cosmic matter and energy, swirl within its confines.


While rooted in Colón’s personal relationship to land and encounters with violence, Tierra de Substrato Arecibo Hematita works to absorb the specificities of individualized negative experiences to form a transformative vessel of healing, light, and life. In this work, Colón has invited us to consider what lies beneath the surface and sits within the infinite potentiality of the cosmic world, grounded in the raw dirt that bore ancestral life on earth.

Gisela Colón (American b. 1966, Vancouver, Canada, raised 1967, San Juan, Puerto Rico) is a Puerto Rican-American artist whose 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 People.

 

Colón has exhibited internationally throughout the United States, Europe, Egypt, the Middle East, and Latin America. Notable public exhibitions include The Future is Now for the Land Art Biennial, Desert X, Godheads – Idols in Times of Crises in the Oude Warande Forest (Netherlands 2022), and One Thousand Galaxies of Light (Starfield), an immersive light installation at the Wadi Hanifa River, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (November 2022). Colón’s work was recently featured in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA’s) historical survey exhibition Light, Space, Surface: Art from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts (2021-2022), and the Frist Art Museum, Nashville TN (2022). Most recently, Colón presented a solo exhibition, The Feminist Divine, at SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia (2022).

 

Forthcoming institutional exhibitions and international projects include Matéria Prima, a solo exhibition at the Museu Nacional da República, Brasilia, Brazil (2024), Estados de Matéria Terrestre, an environmental art activation in Brasilia on climate change, a solo exhibition in Sao Paulo at the Instituto Artium de Cultura (2024), and Materia Prima del Caribe: Viajando Através del Tiempo con Luz, Carbón, Balas, Tierra, Agua, y Sal, a collaborative exchange project for La Bienal de la Habana, Cuba (2024).

 

Gisela Colón’s work resides in institutional collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; El Museo Del Barrio, New York, NY; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, FL; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA; Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL; Mint Museum, North Carolina; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA; Grand Rapids Museum of Art, Grand Rapids, Ml; and Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO.

 

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, the artist lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

Installation view, Other Ways, 2024, Efraín López, New York  
 
Installation view, Other Ways, 2024, Efraín López, New York