If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be. -Maya Angelou
On the day of Ms. Angelou’s passing and in reverence to her quote above, I’d like to introduce my readers to Jennifer Esperanza, a Santa Fe-based photographer who is everything but normal, and truly amazing. We’ve met virtually and I’ve enjoyed learning about her practice and goings on. She gets around (lucky lady!), and is as curious as a cat. So with her permission I am posting a studio tour, all images courtesy of her, that she had recently with the Miami-based Cuban artist Enrique Martinez Celaya.
To me Celaya has served as an inspiration over the years – not only is his aesthetic one that I am drawn too, but his method of work is similar to mine, in that words preface the images. In his practice he writes about ideas first, then he jumps into the visual material of the thought. He writes a lot about art and art history, and even has a press he founded as a jumping point for sharing these writings and writings of others. The other connection with him is his background in physics – before he was an accomplished artist, he had a degree in physics. While I studied math before landing squarely in the art boat, I share the same understanding: elastic and visual thinking go hand in hand with science and/or math it’s all about the ability to get into a zone. Lastly he has a commitment to his community – he founded the “Whale & Star” project to open his studio to at-risk children, to host lectures, and create a space for dialog. Basically it’s a gesture of art as interaction versus isolation, of art as sharing versus being a mystery.
If you are not familiar with his work, know that it will appeal to the narrative side of your brain, you’ll want to make up stories about the boys/children in the canvas frames or sculptures. It feels like the male version of Kiki Smith – a little personal alchemy going on between the mystery of the spirit and the density of our material world. I recommend his book, Collected Writings & Interviews: 1990 – 2010, and also checking out his web site for more visuals and details of his practice.
Jennifer Esperanza’s visual diary of his studio is inspiring to say the least. A big, white, airy studio, Jennifer has captured the space with people in it making it all more human and not just a giant art-filled tomb. I wish I was there to take part in the dialog, thankfully the pictures can transport me for the moment. Thank you Jennifer! Please see the full post of ALL the images here on her site…and note she was voted best local photographer last year in Santa Fe – keep being not normal, ergo amazing Jennifer!
“I am not a sensualist” – Enrique Martinez Celaya
Enrique Martinez Celaya web site here.
Confirmed sensualist – Jennifer Esperanza
Jennifer Esperanza web site here.
All photos below, © Jennifer Esperanza