Leticia Huerta

Most of my work deals with personal searching and transformation. Through work, I explore male/femaleness, love/hate, family, memory, loss, and the changes in my life as I pass through each stage.

An important aspect of my work is the sense of labor involved in creating it. I am using construction materials that I have had an interest in since childhood. My father was a carpenter and I was always fascinated with the things he constructed. In my pieces, I incorporate building materials as well as other objects such as shell, tin, gold leaf, paper, photos, and paint. Recycling of materials is another aspect of my work that is influenced by my father’s manner of working.

Recently, I began using beeswax. I am fascinated by its sensuous properties. It reminds me of alchemy, Catholic ritual, cooking, and magic. The materials I employ are chosen for their physical, visual, and poetic properties. Somehow these diverse elements are transformed into one panel or one page to say what perhaps I can’t express any other way.

Love # 1

This piece is part of a series titled "Love and Death." It was originally a book produced as a collaboration with Dallas artist Kaleta Doolin. This is the first image of that series. This body of work involved using somewhat different materials than any I had used before. Or rather, using them in a different fashion. I incorporate photographs, in this case a photo of myself in my First Communion dress. It was customary to have a studio picture taken after such an important event. In this piece, I also use patterned paper to imply certain messages about young women coming of age. There is a fabric pattern of ripe fruit in the background, referring to a girl becoming a woman. Also there is a strip above the photographs with wedding rings. The white dress and the similarity to a wedding gown harks back to a time when tradition dictated a woman’s fate, even at this early age. I feel that this was still very true for a woman of my generation. The rose at the bottom, taken from the Lotería game, talks about the innocence of a child at this age, and the blossoming that is about to happen that will change her forever.

               The way in which these pieces were produced was quite different from my visual work of using mixed media and having three-dimensional objects attached to panels. Here, I used a mixed media technique, and added or adjusted color by the use of colored cellophane. Then I had a laser copy made of the piece. So it is in a sense a print on paper of a mixed media piece.

Padre Nuestro

Padre Nuestro is a silkscreen that was produced at Sam Coronado’s studio in Austin, Texas, a few years ago. It is taken from a previous mixed media work of the same title. In this piece, I attempted to depict objects that had been attached to panel in the previous piece. The milagro images were taken from the actual pieces in the form of Xeroxes. They refer to prayers for my dad’s disabilities due to the typhoid fever that infected his bones as a child. There is also the prayer, "Padre Nuestro," written on parts of the piece, so the title refers to that, but also to my father. The drawing of roses is also included, under the writing, which is an important image in a lot of my work.

Elegy

This diptych is inspired by Gabriel Faure's composition titled "Elegie." I had been working with the pinwheel for some time, in reference to work about my children. In this piece, it has a similar but different purpose. The panel on the left hand side is a mostly white panel. There is some inscription on the white paint that allows one to see the dark paint beneath it. It is a story of a young man my son's age who had recently passed away. The boy in the center photograph is my son, who also plays the cello and was learning to play this piece. He had just started school at UT in Arlington in the music department. The boy that died had already mastered this piece and had recorded his playing of it as well as many other compositions. He died of cancer over the summer. For several days, his recordings were played in the music department in his memory. It was my son's first encounter with the death of a friend. I felt for my son and the parents of this talented young man. The loss was unimaginable to me. That was the seed for this piece. I used my son's sheet of music as a backdrop for his image playing the piece. The second panel I stained the color of cello wood. The pinwheels refer to the loss of a child.

Elegy # 2

Elegy # 2 is similar to the previous in that it was inspired by the same piece of music. This piece also tells of a young girl's death. She is holding flowers in her hands. The striped fabric behind her reminds me of a fabric that I associate with her time. The musical piece itself also serves as a background to her image. The second panel again is stained the color of cello wood, with the pinwheels having the same significance.