From the series: "In The Silence" 30" X 40" Painted Silver Print
A native New Mexican, Soledad's work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Mexico since 1979. The Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Los Angeles County Museum own several of her pieces. She received a Master of Fine Arts Degree in photography and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in modern languages from the University of New Mexico.
In an ongoing series of performances documented by hand-painted photographs, Soledad carries out what she has described as a ritualistic synthesis of self and site, integrating her body into carefully selected environments she has perceived to be in some way incomplete. Always working alone in an as yet unresolved space, she begins to experience a heightened, intuitive, sensitivity to her surroundings, both material and ethereal and an ability to absorb their nuances. The self I explore is not bound by the physical body, but rather by a continuity of energy between material bodies. " I shift roles, photographer/subject and move across time as well as the image area. I refer to my time both behind and in front of the lens, as "In the Silence". It is a place beyond language, on the shadowy margin of consciousness, where nothing is separate and intuition rather than logic is the primary basis for all decisions. It is here that I tap into silent signals, manipulate time, gather light into a small black box and record a solitary moment. "
Her method is to allow herself "to drift as one would in a dream and not to question." Questioning of self, the ego and the rational order of things are temporarily suspended allowing an unconscious flow between Soledad and the dream world she has entered. "I often conceal my face in the images and smooth over the particularities of time and place, because these images explore notions of being a woman in a more universal sense, rather than on a purely personal level. They are about the power of a woman, her strength, her sensuality, her vulnerability, and her connections to the intuitive. My work invites people into the spaces I photograph and asks questions about the complex soul of women."
The past several years, Soledad has explored this heightened sense of the intuitive, by studying with a well-known Curandera, Elena Avila. As an apprentice to Ms. Avila, Soledad has spent much time studying the nature of intuition and the soul. Soledad states in the book written by Avila, Woman Who Glows in The Dark, "For years I didn't know why I was so driven to photograph myself and why it was so easy for me to do. After studying with Elena, I realized that I was allowing bits of my soul to be seen and heard through these images." Putnam, 1999 p.325.
Now, having completed her apprenticeship with Ms. Avila, Soledad sees clients as a Curandera, and when applicable, combines Curanderismo with her photography. " If a photography client agrees, before doing their portrait, before we actually begin shooting an image, I find it helpful to do a limpia. I try to shift the person out of their conscious state, so that the unconscious soul makes itself more visible to the camera."
These highly personal, enigmatic images, rich with romanticism and a bit of mystery, reach into the collective memory to stir associations of love, death and longing.
"The arresting imagery of Soledad at Ariel Gallery (Soho, NY) are elaborate tableaus employing diaphanous tapestries, flowers, enough of the surreal to remind one of Jean Cocteau. Though made in editions of 25, each photograph is painted in enough variety to be considered an original. Well worth the trip into Soho!" ARTSPEAK, Vol VIIL. No 14 , p.3 .
" Photographer Soledad ,works in a magic circle. First, behind and then in front of the camera.... Within that limited physical geography she explores an immensely varied interior world.....an instant of performance, a clarity of quiet, yet almost theatrical drama." William Clark, "Camera Captures Visions of Poetry", Albuquerque Journal , February 28, 1988
" Soledad's elegant, carefully composed, painted photographs tell us that the dreamer and the dream are inseparable,...They are anything but safe, like writing a short story in first -person, putting herself in her pictures, is risky business" . Keith Raether " Art Imitates Life", Albuquerque Journal May 17, 1987."
Here the idea is that " the unconscious provides a badly needed point of resistance, a critical underside" to a technological world . The message... "need not be confirmed in rational terms , It need only be felt". Glen Brown, Circa, Winter 1994 p. 33.
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