Wk 9 Artist Conversation – Dulce Soledad Ibarra

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Exhibition Information

Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Recuerdos
Media: Mixed Media, Sculpture
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov-West Gallery
Website: dulcesoledadibarra.com dulcesoledadibarra.tumblr.com

About the Artist

It is Dulce Soledad Ibarra’s last semester at CSULB and she is going to be receiving her BFA in Sculpture. She plans to continue her education with graduate school, but nothing is set in stone yet. Her family immigrated from Leon, Guanajuato during the 1980’s and she grew up in Chino, California. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, Spanish being her first language. She draws a lot of inspiration from her family and upbringing, using all sorts of different materials. Ibarra’s pieces include drawings, paintings, and mostly 3D work or sculpture.

Formal Analysis

As soon as you walk in to her exhibition, you feel as if you have walked into an older woman’s living room. Everything in her sculpture can be touched, and she has her artist statement sitting on a piano in the room. The colors of the furniture are an inviting, bright yellow. All around the furniture are what you would consider “clutter.” There are dolls everywhere you look, accompanied by blankets, candles, little trinkets, and other fabric items. It looks lived in, like all the items have been used before or at least have been sitting for a while. You can walk in the middle of her piece, as it is set up in a way that resembles how it may be in a room, only on a smaller scale. There is a lot to her sculpture, and there are so many trinkets laid around that they would be very difficult to count.

Content Analysis

Her installation was completely based around her aunt who passed away a few years ago. While the grief of her death is not new anymore, she still needed a way to process her emotions since her family is not a very communicative one. Ibarra said that they tend to not discuss deeper emotional issues, and since art is her outlet she decided to turn this piece into therapy for herself. All the items in the exhibition belonged to her aunt, and most actually were set up in the same back room of the house. The furniture now belongs to her sisters that will claim it back after the show is over. The items seem to be pretty bizarre when put together because it seems like there is no rhyme or reason to the arrangement. Her whole aunt’s house was like this, and so she connects the piece to her house this way. Each item has a little story and when they are together they give a comforting feeling to Ibarra. That’s what she wanted her audience to feel. Although she used to the sculpture to work through her own issues and it deals with heavier emotions, she wanted it to be bright and comforting, as if we were all walking into our older relative’s home. She was especially close to her aunt because she was like a mother to her. Her aunt was a very motherly figure, as she helped raise all the members in Ibarra’s family even though she did not have children of her own.

Synthesis / My Experience

This piece caught my attention immediately. I first noticed the piano, and although I was unsure we could take it, the pamphlets she laid out to explain her exhibition. I really got the comforting feeling she was trying to say with her piece. I was reminded of my grandmother’s house because of all the dolls. Also it had a childhood feel to it because a lot of the dolls in the collection I had when I was younger. I really connected with her during our conversation because she was very detailed and passionate about her work. She said her work is like therapy for her, and I could see that in the writing in her pamphlet. There are a lot of heavy thoughts that still surround her aunt that she needed to get out. I was really blessed with getting to speak with her because she was so inspiring. Ibarra said that her family is one that does not talk about the heavier issues, and I related to that a lot. I liked that even though her piece revolved around her family, that anyone could relate to it. We all have a relative that collects a little too much stuff, stuff that seems to not go together. Even though it seems chaotic to have all these items everywhere, they complimented each other well. Everything was bright and cheerful. From talking to the artist and looking at her belongings, I got the idea of the type of person her aunt was.

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