At a time when a vast amount of photography exists simply as a digital file on a computer, never becoming an object, there is an ever increasing interest and need for artists that challenge the boundaries of photographic practice. Utilising a background in fine art through her studies at UPV San Carlos Fine Art Faculty, María De La O Garrido is doing just that. Her work playfully explores an array of mediums including sculpture, installation, digital and video.
Following her time studying fine art in Valencia, she took a technical photography course in Mexico. Impacted by the economy and employment situation in Spain, María made the decision to embark upon an MA in Photography at Central Saint Martins in a bid to break out of her comfort zone and expand her practice into something more physical. The course gave María the opportunity to attend a breadth of workshops within different practices and the resulting experimentation in areas like metal work transformed her work into intriguing sculptural collages. “The MA allowed for me to conceive my practice as something cohesive in the interstices between these disciplines. To combine this new materiality with the ideas that I was studying helped me to define what I do”, she explains.
María approaches working with the photographic image in a fluid and open manner and often her own photographs form only the beginnings of projects or installations, working and manipulating them as if they were another material. She sees her work as a way to explore and interrogate events and ideas that affect everyday life and casting a critical eye on things that “don’t work well”. The Project ‘Statues also die’, for example, is based on her own experience as a life model with particular focus on being an immigrant woman in this context. It studies perceptions of the female nude, as well as the role of the life model throughout the history of art. The beguiling sculptural conclusions of this research show her practice as a non hierarchical collage where “shapes, images, colour and ideas have the same weight”.
Continuing to experiment with new mediums throughout her work—most recently, performance—María has a solo exhibition opening in September and is also working on a publication that form an extension of her MA Project ‘Making love with the things I hate’.