María Peña started her career as a fine artist studying painting and ceramics in the Art School Academia Superior de Artes de Bogotá ASAB, in Colombia, where she graduated in 2003. In October, 2000 Maria was selected amongst 30 artists to represent Colombia in the 8th International Arts Festival of Museo Ex-Teresa Arte Actual in México. The following four years Maria participated in collective exhibitions in Bogotá and Medellín/Colombia, with the series of paintings “Ergonomic Species”.
In 2004 she travelled to Australia in order to pursue a research program in visual arts at RMIT University in Melbourne. During this time she explored around the theme of Diaspora and the hybrid identities through her artwork “Bodies in Transit”, a series of sculptural pieces of human presences elaborated with fabric and embroidering and a series of paintings entitled “Disappeared House”. Currently Maria depicts the theme of memory and identity in her oil paintings on canvas, in sculptural fabric pieces and installation projects. Her artwork has developed between Australia and Colombia through solo and collective shows, artist in residency programs and specific projects. Up to now she has participated in solo and collective shows in Colombia, Australia, Mexico, China, Italy, India and the United Arab Emirates
My Art attempts to open our human consciousness and to identify us as nature itself. Through the elaboration of intricate human portraits, hands or feet, blended with natural elements such as leaves, trunks, flowers and fruits, I attempt to reflect a human reconciliation with our nature. It is an invitation for the viewers to see themselves and to perceive their own internal roots re-connected to land: that element in our memories and collective conscious that unifies our identity. On evoking mystic and mythological human presences that may be hidden and blurred within ourselves these portraits recall the ancestral and magical wisdom beneath our daily and modern identity.
What if we re-invent ourselves? if we imagine a powerful presence of ourselves and re-construct our natural thoughts and beliefs?, what if we re-think our human identity?
This body of artwork reflects a strong influence from sub-realism and magical realism concepts. Surrealism elements that are visible into my art are the juxtaposition of uncommon imagery, and illogical scenes that allow the unconscious to express itself. Magical Realism is depicted in some of my uncanny and mysterious portraits, through assemblage of real elements such as preserved nature: brunches, trunks and wooden pieces of trees or found small roots.
Art and nature are my most precious way of existing here and now. I reconcile with life every opportunity that nature makes me perceive myself and to feel and visualize how my physical interior is like her. My veins are rivers, my lungs are mountains, volcanoes are my nostrils when I sneeze, my brain is a tree, the water inside of my body is the immensity of the ocean, and my heart are caverns that contain endless cells that allow me to be alive.
Now I understand that my Art and my purpose as an artist is to materialize these revealed messages and to communicate them. To have a language that speaks to you, in order to awake your consciousness: nature is magnificent and so ARE YOU because you are one of her cells.