Augusta Barreda



Works by Augusta Barreda

Throughout her artistic career, Augusta Barreda has been exploring form,
color and materials, using a personal vocabulary synthesized from a variety
of sources. Coming of age in the 1970s, Barreda‚s peripatetic inclinations
led her to resist both artistic dogma and provincialism while cultivating a
strong belief that art is personally and collectively charged.

Barreda‚s visual language has been shaped by the study of arts based in
Western and Eastern traditions, as well as those derived from pre-Columbian
cultures and folklore. As a seeker and a citizen of the world, the artist
developed a range of interests along the way, including mythology,
spiritualism, and ecology, which have further influenced her aesthetic

A consummate extrovert, in the recent series of works, Barreda chooses to
introvert, to her own garden of the psyche, with an exhibition of sculptures
titled „Internal Nature.‰ As in the past, Barreda references the organic
world around her, particularly nature, and especially, flowers. With names
like „Puyudos (Prickers)‰ and „Pom-Poms‰ however, their designations are not
merely illustrative. Barreda reaches for the poetic as much as the
naturalistic. The area between abstraction and representation is blurred,
and there is a feeling of serious play at work.

Could we also be underwater in a forest of deep-sea creatures? At once
elegant and whimsical, these earthbound clusters reach upward towards the
sun in groupings or they stand alone as solitary sentries. The artist has
conceived the individual works in personal terms of „families.‰ The
„Pom-Poms‰ have solid, tree trunk-like bases, spherically shaped tops and
petals that explode outwards with multi-pointed rods. Contrasted with the
graceful lines and tapering curves of the „Calas,‰ the insinuation is
clearly one of male ˆ female personae. Like the mysterious hybrid
sculptures of Louise Bourgeois, the „Internal Flowers‰ and the „Puyudos‰ are
suggestive, yet slightly threatening at the same time.

Rich, sensuous reds and navy blues curled around white or red interiors, not
to mention an occasional protruding „pistil‰ ˆ further allude to the idea of
body gender and unabashed sexuality. However, like Georgia O‚Keefe, Barreda
leaves interpretation of her „flowers‰ to the eye of the beholder.

Barreda‚s decision to forego using bronze, as in previous works, in favor of
using only wood for the new series also signals a change. By using stains of
color rather than paint, the inherent beauty of cedar, its natural grain and
individual characteristics - is coaxed from the aromatic wood. Smooth
surfaces burnished by the artist‚s hand imply a physical, intimate

Central to the lovely „Calas‰ are their white interiors, symbolizing the
pure energy of the flower. The whites are not stained with color but rather
the wood is bleached. The process of removing color to reveal the inner
core is integral to the artist‚s intent and her love of metaphor.

„Art is something that moves from within you to the outside,‰ said the
sculptor Kiki Smith recently, referring to her process of making visible her
ideas. Sculptors throughout history have frequently referred to bringing
out the image that already exists within the marble, or stone or wood. It
is a mystery and a compulsion that frequently drives the artistic process
and one that Augusta Barreda clearly relishes, with visually eloquent

Liz Christensen
Art Curator
Deutsche Bank
September, 2003