Ana Laura de la Garza

The senses and life experiences have been the foundation of my art. Looking back, with all my academic training, I still feel and see the common bond with heritage, family and rituals. As much as I would like to stray, I have reached a point of acceptance and placement of fate. Fate has made me a woman, fate has made me Latina, and fate has made me an artist.

I have always been glad to be a female, recalling my elementary years of how proud I was to attend an all girl school. It prepared me to look forward for the year 2000, as if it was going to be a passage of time, which would allow me the freedom to say as I wished, with knowledge, and some experience.

My art has been a dissection of my interpretation of being a Latina woman, born and raised in a border city. The flare of colors, scents, emotions, responsibilities, freedoms, and even boundaries (created by ourselves, society, environmental or peers) is my exploration. My art began with death or the death of women and their identities. Slowly, it has evolved to the celebration of what it is to be a woman. The freedom of choices of feminine versus masculinity, beauty versus grotesque, spoiled versus unspoiled, are only words to the eye of the beholder, but never do my women have that knowledge. They are about sexuality whether masked by psychological debate of within or a partner or the viewer. The sheer agony of what change and growth entails. This growth has been depicted by my series of the "Border Bride".

This series began with the obsession of the ritual of marriage, love and sex, but mostly about the ritual of the physical marriage. Choices made, dates to fill, commitments to keep, unconditional acceptance, and lastly insanity. And when everything is in place and the ritual is about to begin the questions are about to start or even show through the eyes, and even gesture of the bride. I sincerely believe that the way the wedding is planned and executed will be the life of the bride. Whether the wedding has been planned for her or whether she took control, or if it was a mutual partnership, people giggle at the latter.

This research demanded for the works to be primarily of monoprints rather than multiples of each image. They also demanded a space where all the senses would be on demand. The scents of perfume, flowers, and sugar, the colors of passion and hate and even innocence, the sound of music of love and heartache and the touch of layers of textures and fabrics. All of this is what a "Border Bride" is all about, because there is nothing wrong with vanity, rather it is celebrated through my brides. My brides are of all ages, all innocents, classes and are all uniquely picked out because of stories and poses anyone can relate. Stories of the marriages, which struggled through poverty, infidelities, identity, lack of love or commitment, and the marriages that triumphed through perseverance, love, dedication and fate. All were about the woman who believed in the fairy tale marriage of life is good or will be good if…

As time and obsessions pass or maybe mature, there are other thoughts such as life, death, and children. Fears of innocents and the abuses of innocents were the beginning of another self-reflection and study. This series deals with the physicality of birth. This is a topic, which everyone at some point in life might explore, especially if life holds the cards of bearing children. Once indestructible, now an adult can feel vulnerable and powerless to the fate and the surroundings of good and evil. Maybe this is a time of spirituality, yet Beauty still in the vocabulary of my studies.

My art would not be if it were not for my familia; mother, father, aunts, great aunt, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews and my husband and children. They have been by eyes and ears to my culture and heritage.