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Iliana Ortega

Born in 1981 in Mexico
Lives and works in New York, USA

My art practice explores how darkness frames light. To capture photos for this exploration, I move slowly through the nocturnal urban landscape, dedicating close attention to the workings of artificial light in the nighttime city.  I print pure black pigment prints using a very high black contrast. The results are prints that are almost black — with just a subtle suggestion of light in the landscape. I then scratch these prints with drill bits to create a different version of the abstract image.  Upon completion, the majority of the prints have characteristics of abstract images provided by shapes of black over black with small protrusions from the under-layer of white paper. By using this technique, I evoke a strong relationship between the formal elements of photography and those of drawing — visually relating both to the natural landscape and exploring how they might reinforce and complement one another. My ultimate goal in using these techniques is to uncover the profound relationship between fiction, representation, and the real. This work and research on darkness has led me to seek out places that provide me with strong natural darkness — with limited light — creating a mysterious beauty that equates itself with silence.

2011 – M.F.A Yale University School of Art, NH. CT
2008 – B.F.A School of Art, University of Guanajuato, Mexico

Awards & Honors
2014 – Edward F. Albee Foundation, Artist Residency Fellowship, Montauk, NY
2010 – Finalist National Competition, 2nd Edition “Arte 40” Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico City
2008 – First Place, Purchase Award, Diego Rivera XIII National Biennial, (Category: Drawing) Mexico
2006-07 Award: National System of Artistic Creators FONCA. (National Fund for Culture and Arts), Category: Painting and drawing) Mexico
2004 – Honorable Mention, Diego Rivera IX National Biennial, (Category: Drawing) Mexico

Solo Exhibitions
2014 – Drawings Exhibition – Gallery Sensei, New York, NY
2012 – Depths of Black – Art Sites Gallery, Riverhead, NY
2011 – Las Imagenes Negras – Aisling Gallery, THE STUDY at Yale, NH. CT
2008 – (…………) – Intervention, Jesús Gallardo Gallery, University of Guanajuato, Mexico
2008 – Lo posible de no habitar – Gene Byron Museum, Gto. Mexico
2007 – Memento Mori – Casa de las Monas Gallery, Gto. Mexico

Group Exhibitions
2013 – Intangible Horizons – Curated by Yoab Vera, ArtSites Gallery, Riverhead, NY
2013 – 100 NYC Artist – Curated by Maria Elvira Dieppa, Pop Up Art Shop Gallery, Barranquilla, Colombia
2013 – Ulterior Intersections – Curated by Yoab Vera, Vera & Melchor de Arcenegui, NY. NY
2012 – Photograpy Is – Higher Pictures Gallery, NY. NY
2011 – STATUS! STATUS! STATUS! – INTERSTATE projects,  Brooklyn, NY
2011 – CAA New York Area MFA Exhibition, Hunter Collage Time Square Gallery, New York, NY
2011 – Yale University class of 2011 show – Green Gallery, New Haven, CT
2010 – Arte 40 – National Center of Art, Mexico City
2010 – Creación en movimiento – Vasconcelos Library, Mexican Artist, 2006-07 Generation, Mexico City
2009 – Creación en Movimiento – Vasconcelos Library, Magno Show Celebrating FONCA 20 aniversary, Mexico City
2009 – Yale University 1st Year Graduate Show – Green Galery, New Haven, CT
2009 – A proposito: Pan Latino Dialogues – Ely House Gallery, New Haven, CT
2008 – XIII Bienal Nacional Diego Rivera – Diego Rivera Museum, Guanajuato, Mexico
2008 – Exposición Colectiva – Kunsthaus Santa Fé, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Mexico
2007 – Colectiva Regional de Pintura – Traveling Exhibition, Foundation of Culture and Arts Central Mexico
2007 – Creación en Movimiento – Francisco Cossio Museum, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
2007 – La Casa Tomada – XXXV International Cervantino Festival, Guanajuato, Mexico
2006 – WORKS ( ) PAPER International Festival of Contemporary Art, Curators: Randy Walz and Juan Meliá, Casa de las Monas Gallery, Mexico
2005 – Hoy, today, aujourd’hui – Teatro Juárez Guanajuato, Mexico


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