Cavin-Morris Gallery is pleased to present the second one-person show of dramatic, spiritually abstract works by Izabella Ortiz.
Ortiz’s work has been shown minimally in Europe under the vague genre of Art Singulier, a title roughly equivalent to what some call Outsider Art in the United States. In Europe Art Singulier originated from Jean Dubuffet’s category for artists whose work he deemed to have more sophistication and less isolation than the classic artists of Art Brut.
Two common aspects of typical Singulier are horror vacuii (a filling in of every possible inch of surface) and often an almost geometric sense of symmetry. A major point of differentiation for the self-taught Ortiz is her complete control of asymmetrical balance by merging the forward, backward, above and below in intricate and dense compositions based around her themes of water, and the controlling of a sense of deep chaos in the natural world.
It is specious to call the work of a contemporary artist shamanic without the proper rigid and very specific training a true shaman receives within the traditions of their culture, but there are indeed commonalities in some spiritual and artistic contexts. In Ortiz’s case it was a major physical and emotional crisis, life changing in scope, that led her to bring the deeper aspects of Nature to her work. Painting became a form of self-healing. She created it for personal balance, not for the canons of the art world.
Although her work can be thematically landscapes, they are not about vast space. Indeed, she has swallowed the oceanic, internalized the sea, and kept visibility not to great inchoate depths but to the messy and tangled intensity of close proximity. There are creatures, plants, and the almost psychotropic movement of line and atmosphere. In fact, it is the movement in her exquisitely colored scapes that holds our rapt attention. She combines water, blood, rain, and currents in her water drawings and, like the Aboriginal songline paintings (she lived a long time in Australia), catches the language and intricate geological motion of the land itself.
Here are her words:
My mother is Australian and my father French-Colombian and, as a child I lived in France, in Australia and also in Alaska. My painting is impregnated by Inuit, Aboriginal and Indian myths, tales and legend. . . .
It (painting) came to life in an unexpected way. One evening in 2009, like a sleepwalker I grabbed a painting I had at home and painted over it. Since then I have been producing in a compulsive way. . . .
This "trance painting" loomed up after a pulmonary illness and has become vital to me. I have become what I am.
Most titles contain the word "dream" because for me, our roots grow in our dreams. . . .
My dreams are my capacity of transcending everything I intercept, absorb, everything that impregnates me for me to better spill it all out when creating. All my paintings are "automatic" and therefore, take life directly on the paper: forms and materials whisper to me what to do.
This is her second exhibition in the United States. It is also only the second time her new series of larger drawings has been exhibited anywhere. We believe she has transcended category. Her work was one of the surprises and successes of the 2020 Outsider Art Fair. We are privileged to reintroduce her art in this exhibition.