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 Olga de Amaral  (1932 - )

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Lived/Active: Colombia/United States/Latin America      Known for: painting, textile art

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Olga de Amaral is primarily known as Olga de Amaral

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AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Triptico en Oro, 1992
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Christie's New York, Rockefeller Center:
Born in 1932, Olga de Amaral is one of the foremost textile artists in Latin America. Trained in the United States at the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, her work is equally informed by aspects of modernism, contemporary design, indigenous and colonial arts of the Americas, as well as traditional Japanese art.  In a career spanning over five decades, Amaral has crafted a distinct approach to weaving that embraces a plethora of cultural and artistic sources while ably transcending the boundaries of craft, painting, sculpture, and installation art. 

In the mid-1970s Amaral introduced the use of gold as an essential formal and signifying element in her woven work.  The latter would soon become her signature leitmotif--one that eschews mere ornamentation in favor of asserting its enduring presence as one of the most basic materials among different cultures and civilizations throughout history.  Indeed, Amaral's conscious retrieval of the ancient practice of weaving (albeit redefined within a contemporary idiom) coupled with her use of gold positions her works within a timeless continuum.

The dynamic optical effects of Amaral's tapestries are not unlike those employed by kinetic forerunners Jesús Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez.  Amaral's constructivist approach rooted in the iconic grid also recalls the work of another leading modernist pioneer, Joaquín Torres-García.  Like Torres-García, Amaral believes in the ability of abstraction to convey meaning through the inscription of memory.  So too the ancient practice of weaving is deeply linked to notions of history and language--fields of abstraction replete with symbolic import.  In Amaral's able hands, meaning is re-activated and these seemingly disparate and latent histories are seamlessly woven together to create works of extraordinary substance and profundity.

1 O. de Amaral, "The House of My Imagination," Olga de Amaral: The Mantle of Memory (Paris: Galerie Agnès Montplaisir and Bogotá, Amaral Editores, S.A.S, 2013) 217-18.

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