Priscilla Aleman: Building Archeological Dreamscapes
Pulling from her Colombian-Cuban background, artist Priscilla Aleman creates dreamscapes from researching archaeological sites in the Americas and the Caribbean
MORE IN THIS SECTION
Born in Miami to a Cuban father and a Colombian mother, Priscilla Aleman identifies herself as a Latinx artist. In recent years she has been working with archaeologists, conducting an intimate investigation of South Florida’s relationship to the tropics and her roots in the Latin American landscape. With this understanding of past traditions and the environmental history of the Americas, Aleman, who culminated an MFA in Sculpture at Columbia University, New York, crafts her own sanctified installations: deified sculptural monuments and memorials.
A good example of her recent work is the installation ‘In a Field of Ancient Stars’, on view at Baxter St Camera Club of New York through April 26, 2023.
Marking the culmination of her recent YoungArts Baxter St residency, ‘In a Field of Ancient Stars’ is an archeologically-informed collection of new works that showcases Aleman's artistic talent through photography, sculpture, and mixed media.
“Pulling from my Colombian-Cuban background, I create dreamscapes from researching archaeological sites in the Americas and the Caribbean. I create dreams to understand my most fundamental values and experiences,” Aleman explains in her website. “I consider how through relationships I assign value and meaning. I examine the things we exchange and how we relate to the world. I consider the people closest to me, transporting and reconnecting through transplanted materials, retracing relationships and formulating new world views,” she adds.
With sports as a specific entry point into new and ancient stories of creation, Aleman explores parallel and intersecting universes across time. She collects agricultural artifacts, leaves, seeds, rocks, and shells, gathering objects as personal relics for recreation. These materials are joined by others, including ceramic soccer balls and body castings of loved ones. Using plaster, foam, alginate and silicone mold, she cast figures in accessible materials to better understand the body’s presence and ways of being, elevating it as an artifact to study various recreational fields.
“In archeology, I ask what it means to disinter a sacred space and relocate objects, relics, and belongings that are carefully enshrouded for that body, but that I and others find so much insight from,” said Aleman in the press release. “Much like a star dying and its material matter being siphoned off to recollect in a new field of planets and stars. I go into a meditative state where I am imagining that it's my own family members, friends, or even myself. I handle these artifacts with care and allow them to move and become new matter,” she said.
Aleman also incorporates National Geographic imagery that acts as specific lenses into the worlds and ideas the photographs represent, which embodies the double nature of these images and texts. Aleman's new work invites viewers to examine the ways we are interconnected through an exploration of sports and how they leave archeological traces that ignite an energetic field and hold cosmologies.
A YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts in 2009, Aleman completed her BFA at Cooper Union and later completed an MFA in Sculpture at Columbia University. Aleman has recently exhibited works with the Wave Hill Project Space, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, YoungArts, and Upstate Art Weekend, among others. She was recently commissioned for a public artwork by the New York Botanical Garden, was an Artist in Residence at Fountainhead and Governors Island through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC).