urban apus: take apart and piece together
urban apus: take apart and piece together, Gisela Insuaste presents a series of new photo-collage paintings, drawings, and site-specific installations that explore the transformative nature of the urban landscape and the Quechua concept of apus. Apus are considered protective spirits of the sacred mountains of the Andean region. Before setting out on a journey, you look towards the apus for guidance and protection. Insuaste embarks on her own adventure, unearthing past memories and thrusting them to the present by taking apart and piecing together personal found objects such as vacuum cleaner parts, photos, and recycled material. She pays homage to her immediate urban apus, the man-made and natural forms and spaces that surround her and ground her sense of place, history, and identity.
My work explores the intersection of architecture, topography, and memory. Through paintings,
drawings, sculptural and site-specific installations, I tap into the subtle and quirky topologies of
urban spaces that are composed of interdependent elements that resonate with personal narratives.
I seek to understand the interconnectedness of people, places, and things, thus creating new
spaces and forms that reflect the fragile and dynamic relationship between the built and natural
environment, both real and imagined. I explore the physical, emotional and sometimes politically
charged places we live in while questioning our individual and shared cultural space and identity. My work becomes a metaphor of experiences where a shift in location, emotion, and activity give rise to new ways of looking and interpreting.
Gisela Insuaste is a visual artist and educator who received her MFA in Painting and Drawing from
the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and BA in Anthropology and Studio Art from Dartmouth
College. She has participated in projects nationwide including Vox Populi, PA; Allcott Gallery, UNC,
Chapel Hill, NC; Aljira-the Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ; Praxis Art Gallery, Cuchifritos
Gallery, ABC No Rio, and Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY; Krannert Art Museum-UIUC,
Champaign, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Cultural Center, Gallery 400-UIC, Thomas
McCormick Gallery, and Bucket Rider Gallery, Chicago, IL; She’s received the Richard Driehaus
Emerging Artist Award, Illinois Arts Council grants, and MacDowell Colony Artist Fellowships. In
2008 she was included in the international art book of artists working with visual subcultures, The
Upset: Young Contemporary Art by Die Gestalten Verlag. She was recently selected for El Museo
del Barrio’s Bienal: S-Files 2011. She lives in Brooklyn.