Artist/filmmaker Poli Marichal was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and presently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she has her studio. Her personal blend of expressionism and symbolism, realism and fantasy and her strong use of color reflect her strong Caribbean roots. Art critic, Myrna Rodríguez, of AICA, states in her introduction to the catalog of Marichal’s 2003 solo show, Trópico Fecundo, “By using an expressive figurative style, the artist manages to establish a personal iconography of great emotional force within the parameters of aesthetic quality.”
Marichal has a B.A in Printmaking from the School of Fine Arts of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and an MFA in Film from Massachusetts College of Art. Among the grants she has been awarded are a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship and a New Works Grant from Massachusetts Council for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited in solo and collective exhibitions in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Europe. Two of her experimental films were selected for the exhibition Big as Life, An American History of 8mm Films at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 2006, several of her films were included in the retrospective of Puerto Rican experimental film and video, Rewind, rewind… organized by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. That same year, one of her self-portraits was also included in the retrospective show, Autocontemplación-Autoretratos en Pintura at the University of Puerto Rico Museum of Anthropology, History and Art. In 2007, she participated in the traveling exhibition, Persistencia del Grabado Puertorriqueño, which had its opening at the Museo Las Américas in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 2008, several of her prints were featured in the Consejo Grafico’s exhibition, Creando Fuerza, Cambio y Permanencia, at the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas. In 2009, one of her prints was selected for the WCA/West”s exhibition, Women Artists On Immigration – Crossing Borders, Confronting Barries, Bridging Identities, curated by Alma Ruiz.
In the summer of 2008 she did a residency as part of the 18th Street Arts Complex Youth Outreach Program. The project she directed, The Santa Monica Codex, involved Latino youth in designing a monumental art book that was exhibited at the Virginia Avenue Park Community Center and the18th Street Arts Complex.
Since 1995, Marichal has made numerous mono silk-screens, etchings, linocut prints and woodcuts and participated in workshops and exhibitions at the renowned East Los Angeles visual arts center, Self-Help Graphics & Art, where she has also been a printmaking instructor. She has taught monoprint and mixed media printing techniques as well as given workshops to at-risk youth in the summer program, SOY Artista for two consecutive years. In 2006, she was the curator of the retrospective exhibition, Self-Help Graphics Revisited, a selection of 30 years of Self-Help Graphics prints at the Manhattan Beach Creative Arts Center. Concurrent with the exhibition, she also taught a printmaking class as part of the center’s Fall Arts Program. Marichal is also one of the founding members of Los de Abajo Printmaking Collective, an emerging group of artists whose works have been featured in exhibitions in California, Mexico and Texas.
In the spring of 2007, she directed the youth project, Highland Park Stories, for the non-profit organization, LA Commons. Students from Franklin High School, Roosevelt High School and Los Angeles Community College were recruited to create, along with Marichal, a permanent mural of 16 2’x2’ carved wood panels that is now installed at a wall at Avenue 50 Studio gallery that faces the Gold Line Metro route. The group also printed the carved panels to create a monumental portable mural for traveling exhibitions.
In 2006, the independent feature film, Thieves and Liars, which she co-wrote, co-produced and co-directed with her husband, director Ricardo Méndez Matta was selected to be Puerto Rico’s entry to the Academy Awards for 2007. The film was very well received in film festivals in the United States and abroad and was bought by HBO. Recently, Warner Home Video acquired the DVD distribution rights of the film.
Marichal’s paintings, prints and/or videos are in numerous private and public collections, among the latter: The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, The University of Puerto Rico Museum of Anthropology, History and Art, Institute for Latino Studies – University of Notre Dame, The Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin, Self-Help Graphics and Art in East LA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, New York, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA), Department of Special Collections, Donald C. Davidson Library, at the University of Santa Barbara, Laguna Art Museum, Orange County Art Museum, Huntington Museum, University of Texas, Austin, and The Gerald Buck Collections, Mexican Fine Art Center Museum - Permanent Collection.