I am a Mexican in exile. As a teen, I immigrated to the United States legally when my mother re-married. Gradually, I abandoned my mother’s tongue and replaced it with my new American father’s language. I think, communicate and write in English, but I long to reconnect with my mother’s tongue. My work engages the intimate act of translation and freeing my memories from exile. Translation is world building. I am drawn to the longevity of cloth, the palimpsest, the creation of new traditions to add knowledge to histories. and the use of popular culture and archeological imagery as markers of temporality. Through repetition, layering, fragmentation and contradiction, I create autoethnographic work to mine post-colonial, displacement, feminist and not-belonging discourses. Within the context of a Mexican artist that wishes to engage the Mexican and Mexican-American community, the idea of unmaking to make—destroying and building on top of ruins, is at the forefront of my investigation. What is below the surface? How are images and objects degraded, covered and uncovered by the passing of time and place?
Site intervention and construction/deconstruction involving photographic methods, celluloid and image manipulation, printmaking and material exploration, are integral to my investigation. I believe there’s a mysterious connection between the nature and possibilities of textiles to identity, sites, place and environment. My interest in trade routes, maps and archeology and their historic, nationalistic and cultural implications is imbedded in my Mexican DNA. My primary aim with material discovery is to ask, for instance, what are the materials’ different properties and how can I use them in a way that informs and enhances my conceptual concerns? Using fibers, dyes, and stitch, I create architectonic and archeological imagery and structures that I see as contemporary ruins. I harvest, fuse, re-construct and layer to draw the viewer into my work and to convey multiple meanings. This mirrors a shifting condition of constant deconstruction and reconfiguration.
I’m interested in the role of association, memory and narrative within discourses of exile, migration, feminicide and the construction of histories and new infrastructures. My artworks are characterized by a participatory, serial and repetitive approach, as well as the link between art, memory and transcendence. Concerned with ideas of accessibility, my work revolves around various repeating themes, exploring materials in a way that allows the viewer’s imagination to discover creative associations between aspects of modern life that are often overlooked or ignored. I am interested in thinking through these visual practices as temporal and spatial representations of what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari called “minor literature.” My practice emphasizes transcultural-ness, interconnection, transformation, hybridization and the circulation of forms, myths and merchandises in a post-colonial, globalized and digitalized world, employing notions of origin, place and identity to question their context within our increasingly globalized culture.
Teresita Carson Valdéz is a Chicago based artist working in fiber, film, photography, printmedia and installation. She received her Bachelors in Fine Arts from the School of the Art institute of Chicago. Recent exhibition sites include Sullivan Galleries, Adds Donna Gallery and Mana Contemporary. Her awards and honors include winning first prize for her screenplays Poly Esther, Chucky’s Feast, 1st and 10, Shlomo's Night Out, and Ratacholo. Her short films have been shown at festivals around the world and at curated film exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego.