||My first memory of painting was at four years of age, and I have continued
painting all my life. I have had the privilege of visiting and studying in
many countries of the world, therefore my influences are varied and many. My
chief artistic influences are the great Spanish artists Picasso, Goya, Dali,
El Greco and Velasquez, Turner's immense and glorious skies, New York
Expressionist automatic and intuitive painting, Rothko's horizons and soft
edges, the sensual power of Georgia O'Keefe's landscapes, ancient and
contemporary indigenous philosophy and symbolism, and the endearing beauty
and eternalness of nature.
Over the past twenty-five years, I have investigated humanity's valuable and
fundamental relationship to the natural world, and conversely, the
destruction of the human spirit as nature is destroyed. My artistic process
of one of observation, recollection, and production focused on helping the
viewer to re-member and re-collect a sublime experience in nature in hopes
of confirming our need for the natural world.
I have endeavored to coalesce a career long investigation of diverse media
and contextual interests in nature and, as art critic Suzanne Muchnic noted
in ArtNews, "the feminine unconscious and issues of religion and morality."
My most recent installation work combines my early work in assemblage
sculpture and relief using handmade painted paper with the more recent
landscape paintings. Through these works and my knowledge of ceremony, I
have explored the irreconcilable visions of nature as tranquil beauty, and
nature as the devastated victim of humanity.
Leah Ollman of the Los Angeles Times has observed, "For Vallejo, a Los
Angeles native with a deep interest in the function of ceremony, these works
serve perhaps, as acts of prayer. For the viewer, they are at the least a
I was born in California, and have traveled extensively studying painting,
printmaking and art history. I completed studies in lithography at the
University of Madrid, Spain, and received my MFA in Printmaking from
California State University Long Beach. My work has been exhibited at: SPARC
in Los Angeles, Armand Hammer Museum , Laguna Art Museum, The Bronx Museum,
Museum of Modern Art New York, San Antonio Museum, the Carnegie Museum in
Oxnard, and the Santa Monica Museum. 2005 Exhibitions include a planned solo
exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, and the
International Modern Art Bienalle in Florence, Italy.
I have served as a guest lecturer and instructor at the Los Angeles County
Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Fresno Art
Museum, California State University Long Beach, Santa Monica City College
and the University of California at Irvine.
Between 1980-1990, I created a series of over one hundred earth-based
sculptures entitled, Tree People, dedicated to the concept of a metamorphic
relationship with nature, that begged the question, "How would humanity appear if we were acknowledged our fundamental relationship to nature?"
These sculptures were made of found tree fragment from the sprawling urban
center, handmade paper, and mixed media. These "Tree People" represented the
tree with its human counterpart as aspects of nature's pantheon of the gods
of the earth, water, fire, and air.
In 1993, I completed a large series of gouaches entitled The Death of Urban
Humanity: A World Without Soul. These images invaded the tranquil earth
images to focus on the devastation of the urban center, the destruction of
nature, and concurrently, the destruction of humanity's "natural spirit."
Between 1996-2004 I returned to painting completing two suites entitled, Los
Cielos and Nature and Spirit. These portfolios containing giant, luminous
skies; pristine, living oceans; and broad landscapes to depict the beauty of
and humanity's intrinsic connection to nature.
In 2003, I combined these two irreconcilable images to create my first
political, ecological, and spiritual work of art focusing on the
reconciliation of opposites: the beauty and tranquility of nature with urban
violence and carnage. At this time an installation assemblage was created
entitled HOPE, In the Midst of War, Death and Destruction, combining tragic
images of war dead inspired by Goya's Desastres, with the hope and solace
offered by nature.
In 2004, I presented A Prayer for the Earth. This new installation created a
complete environment using a combination of paintings representing the
beauty of the earth; sculpture focusing on our metamorphic relationship with
nature; a central mandala of manipulated photographs containing tragic
images of the earth's destruction; all surrounded by an assemblage
containing symbols of Earth, Water, Fire and Air. It is through these four
simple, yet fundamental elements of the natural world that we find "A Prayer
for the Earth."
The recent publication, Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art: 2002
(Bi-Lingual Press, Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University)
states, "Vallejo 's significant impact originates in her distinctive
ability to reconcile diverse influences of indigenous pre-Hispanic culture
with a well-grounded art historical exposure. Her work exhibits a confidence
and passion engaging the viewer in a rumination that is directed without
depending on polemics. Vallejo 's subjects move beyond mundane rhetoric with
a stylistic maturity that undermines the reason of the political. Tangible
and inevitable, the work of this artist sacrifices the abstract notion for
the specific struggle, effectively replacing debate with responsibility.
This is achieved by the successful orientation of the viewer in an erudite
consideration of urbanism in decline and the imperiled position of those in
its wake. For a population of Chicanos increasingly situated in the
cityscapes of America, Vallejo 's work is an expansive statement on the real
threats challenging her community."