Lives and works in Penland, NC
(b. 1976, Puerto Rican)
Q: If you were a paint color in the hardware store, what would it be called? And can you describe the color?
A: “Green, jungle green. It is the color of the evergreen landscapes of my tropical youth. It is also comprised of two bold chromatic realities in blue and yellow, both aesthetically and emotionally descriptive of my self-perceived energy.”
Through my work I seek to generate figurative compositions that explore the boundary between the material driven, sensorial experience of an object and the psychological resonance of our involuntary dialogues with the self-referential.
I am driven by the primal act of imbuing an inanimate representation with a sense of presence, transforming it into the inspired repository of our deepest longings and aspirations. My goal is to have these compositions perform both as reflections of our shared humanity as well as question socio-cultural notions of gender, race, beauty and power.
On cuerpo exquisito, a recent solo exhibition
Córdova studied engineering before quickly shifting her focus to clay – a medium that allowed her to display her technical skill coupled with an impulse to create. Trained as a dancer and raised in the Catholic Church, her staging of the body is referential of both classical gestures of ballet and the theatrics of reverence. Córdova’s work is intimate, both through portraiture of her daughters, and the conveyance of her Puerto Rican culture through object and aesthetic. The sculptures in cuerpo exquisito approach the artist’s recurring subject matter of the body as layered and reactionary – to environment, heritage, culture, and politics.
In this exhibition, large-scale ceramic and collaged photographic installations create two distinct dialogues through diorama, anchored by her daughter’s body as both model and memento. The artist’s new wall-based sculptures navigate what she calls “that little line between what I need to say for myself and how to communicate with the community-at-large experiencing my work.” Through meticulously hand-built clay, Córdova gestures us to reconsider the preconscious power of the body as truly exquisite.
- Cristina Córdova received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez and continued to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.
- In 2002 she entered a three year artists residency program at Penland School of Crafts where she later served in the board of trustees from 2006 to 2010.
- Recognitions include a 2015 USA Artist Fellowship; American Crafts Council Emerging Artist Grant; North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship; Virginia Groot Foundation Recognition Grant; and several International Association of Art Critics Awards.
- Cristina has taught and demonstrated at the Office for the Arts at Harvard, the University of California at Long Beach, the University of Nebraska, the University of Georgia at Athens, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Ceramistas de Reñaca in Chile, the Australian National University in Canberra, Penland School of Crafts (NC), Haystack Mountain School (ME), Santa Fe Clay (NM), Mudfire (GA), Odyssey Center for Ceramics (NC), and Anderson Ranch (CO), among others.
- In 2011 she founded TravelArte, an ongoing platform that provides educational experiences within the ceramics medium while immersing students in the creative culture of a particular geographical setting.
- Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington , D.C.), the Fuller Craft Museum, (MA), the Mint Museum of Craft and Design (NC), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico ( PR), the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (PR), and the Joseph-Schein Museum (NY).