Ana Teresa – Peruvian Fiber artist (1980 – Present)
Ana Teresa, a graduate from Faculty of Art at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, is fiber artist from Lima, Peru and is probably one of the top contemporary artists who consistently and prolifically work with embroidery as one of her main choices of medium. Her imagery often depicts the human – usually female – body in an array of situations ranging from animalistic connections with nature to intimate images of self-stitching women. The concept behind her work generally centers around the affects of relationships on human behavior and empathetically depicts their inner pain.
The first piece of Ana Teresa’s work that I had seen was an image of a woman who was intensely focused on pulling these vividly colorful feathers off her body. Instantly I froze and my gut immediately knotted into a tight ball. The image reminded me of a similar nightmare I had years earlier. In my dream I was desperately trying to expose my real self beneath an artificial façade of oblong colorful pearly shells. I felt gross with these shells attached to my skin and helpless that it was impossible to remove any of them. Because of my nightmare, I felt an immense amount of empathy for this woman featured in Teresa’s work. For me THAT intense reaction toward someone’s artwork is always a good indicator that someone is creating art that is so much more than just something “cool” or “neat” to look at. Instead Ms. Teresa is making profound artwork that is meant to resonate and be experience beyond a casual viewing. Her work engages the multiple senses from the texture of the embroidery fibers to the vivid choice of color and thought provoking imagery.
My favorite pieces are of a woman stitching decorative embellishments into herself. The woman’s efforts echo the social pressures felt by every woman to maintain her beauty artificially by compulsively covering her “flaws”. This beautiful self-manipulation becomes a painful method to hide a deeper internal pain. Teresa, when describing her art making process, explains that the decorative embellishments “Serve as Camouflage”.
Another powerful set of imagery titled ‘Animales Familiares’ by Teresa features the more animalistic side of human nature using embroidery to make her subjects appear “more familiar and more domesticated” and yet they still maintain a raw sexual edge. Sometimes she delicately morphs human and animal characteristics seamlessly together as if they are one and then sometimes she arranges both the human and animal characters into intimate and intense compositions. Both compositional arrangements allure to the varying perspectives of and responses to relationships.
It is difficult to find personal information about Ana Teresa in English. I was hoping to find something referencing her creative influences and more of her own thoughts behind her choice of medium. The same quotes are repeated over and over again from website to website. Despite the little bit of her biography available her work is strong and unforgettable.
Enjoy more of her images by clicking on the links below:
Ana Teresa Barboza –> Blog in Spanish
Now Contemporary Art –> Imagery and interview
Hi Fructose: New Contemporary Magazine –> Imagery
Jealous Curator –> Imagery