Isabel Cisneros is an award-winning artist with works in Europe and New York. She also teaches pottery, sculpture and firing at the Graduate School, Universidad de Carabobo in Venezuela.
Isabel was born in Venezuela in 1962 and studied with established artists and more formally at the Instituto de Diseño Fundación Neumann and the Asociacion Venezolana de las Artes del Fuego in Venezuela.
She began her working life starting as a traditional potter producing functional ware but says: “my restless and eager enthusiasm led me to use clay and mixed media to make more conceptual sculptural pieces”. Her curiosity and need for experimentation has seen her work pass through a constant process of evolution.
Isabel’s use materials that are present in everyday life or in nature and their texture and movement inspires her works. With the aim of “creating the most with the least possible resources” she makes almost identical modules in unglazed clay and then threads them to form a woven piece of art.
Her recent work consists of weaving and stringing small pieces of clay and mixed media to create unique sculptures which can be arranged in different formats allowing viewers to form their own interpretations of their compositions.
She writes: “As an artist I undertake an investigation of the histories and decorative elements of textiles working with meticulous techniques of sewing, knitting, weaving, threading and knot making. My intent is to pay tribute to cultural and aesthetic contributions that have been made by women.
“The plasticity of my works express life, the interconnection of beings and their adaptation to the environment. I achieve flexibility by interweaving hundreds of small pieces that blend the contrasts of rigidity-opacity and elasticity-translucency.
“My pieces are accumulations that are built to reach the maximum possible size and compactness with the least amount of material. I work with small units: clay pieces, scales, seeds and industrial objects like buttons, bolts, hoses, books and cloth.
“The final result is similar to a rug or carpet. Due to its flexibility, I can exhibit a piece in many different ways. It is important to me that the spectator can manipulate it and play with my pieces freely to create infinite varieties of forms.
“While my works are conceived as abstract objects derived from mathematical and geometrical calculations, the final result (texture, irregularity of the manual weaving and weight) evokes resting living beings.
“For the last 15 years there has been an unending political confrontation in Venezuela. The government gained outright control over the national economy by fostering contempt between the lower and the upper classes, diminishing the purchasing power of the currency and frequently creating shortages of goods.
“As a response to the lack of paper for printing newspapers (in order to control information) I conceived my latest artwork using books and family papers. I am embroidering European patterns from fashion magazines that were printed in the 1940s. This work is a metaphor for sutures and a tribute to handcraft. I intend to explore the need for the recycling of our intimate stories in such way that we can realize the need to recycle materials that we’ve produced in order to make this world a better place.