Marlena Valdez Freelove: Capturing the Fourth Dimension
Interview with a New Mexico artist
Marlena Valdez Freelove currently lives in Northern New Mexico in a small community nestled at the foot of the Taos Mountains. As a child of immigrant parents, she was provided with a rich backdrop of cultures and sensibilities that always encouraged her to think deeply and to embrace the world from different points of view. Although Marlena spent 26 years as a salaried computer professional, her true passion was art. After a near fatal car accident, she was told by several eye specialists, late in her career, that she was losing her eyesight. She decided that it was time to stop chasing a paycheck and start pursuing her artistic vision.
Published on LatinoLA: March 7, 2011
Although it took another decade to move from a predictable life, she packed her suitcase and household in 2009 and moved to Taos to pursue art.
The ability to shift gears into different life situations and places has served Marlena well. She enjoys finding new and innovative ways of looking at life. She uses many different mediums to express her experiences by combining acrylics, collage, digital art, assemblage and crafts. Her present focus involves combining texture, color and images to tell a "story."
Her desire is to move fluidly through three dimensions as a cohesive whole, with a multitude of layers both obvious and hidden. She is interested in capturing a fourth dimension which allows her visual image to change with light and the position of the observer. Like life, our perceptions of what we are observing change, from moment to moment.
Though she worked for over two decades in the computer field, Freelove's true passion was art. She had a mentorship with several scientists and complimented this study with university courses to work with computers, and she still uses the computer as a medium in her artistic pursuits. For instance, in the memorias, she used scanned photos, digital images and personal artwork. The past year, she self-taught Adobe Photoshop to add digital photography and downloaded images to collage and crafts projects.
Art is also in her blood. Her mother was an artist, a singer and dancer. "She was a seamstress extraordinaire," said Freelove, "she made some of the most beautiful hand-quilted, embroidered and designed quilts and was a doll maker too. My father loved to paint; he was good but suffered from so much insecurity around his art."
Freelove studied art at the University of Colorado in Boulder for a year and also worked with several artists in the Boulder area that were truly inspirational in their approach to creating art.
Here is Marlena Valdez Freelove, in her own words:
Teresa Dovalpage: Where does your inspiration come from? How do you choose subjects and themes?
Marlena Valdez Freelove: I draw inspiration from all that surrounds me and from my own interpretation of life circumstances. I am particularly drawn to spiritual ideas and nature.
Teresa Dovalpage: And it shows in your work! Do you have any upcoming shows? When and where?
Marlena Valdez Freelove: I will be participating in a collaborative project on March 9, at The Taos Gallery in Taos, NM. The theme will be the prophesies of the Maya, and the transition we are in presently.
Teresa Dovalpage: A very appropriate there, I would say. Are all the pieces for sale? Is so, where can they be bought?
Marlena Valdez Freelove: Yes, I will sell all the artwork that I exhibit. I occasionally offer some art work on Ebay, plan to exhibit in several arts shows in Taos and special shows at The Taos Gallery throughout the year.
Teresa Dovalpage: Here is The Taos Gallery website
Now, I know how difficult it is to explain one's own art, but‘«™let's try. Is there some hidden meaning in this gorgeous piece, Dreams 2? All the explosion of oranges and blue‘«™what do you want to transmit with this piece?
Marlena Valdez Freelove: In a word‘«™ freedom. The sometimes hidden watery depths of "blues", the fire and transformative energy of "oranges," and strength, grace and movement conveyed in the image of "galloping horses across an unknown pathless landscape of possibilities."
Teresa Dovalpage: What about Tree hugger? That sphere of light where the head is suggests‘«™
Marlena Valdez Freelove: Letting go‘«™of personal identities such as judgment, past experiences, future fears, allowing the greater experience of the "universe" to merge with your being. The pieces you are referring to are experiments with paint and freedom. I use this technique by squirting paint on canvas or paper and watch how the colors flow together. The fun part is looking at the juxtaposition of form, color and texture to see what emerges. This accomplishes many things, learning to work with color and opening the door to the subconscious mind.
Teresa Dovalpage: There is one that I loved at first sight--Mom's collage is a particularly emotional piece. Who is Jesusita Velez? Is this your own family?
Marlena Valdez Freelove: Jesusita Velez Lehmann was my beloved, artistic and beautiful mother. I was lucky to spend two intimate years with her after a major stroke. As a memorial gift to her sisters and extended family, I created this memoria on the second-year anniversary of her death.
Teresa Dovalpage: That is such a beautiful piece. What about Private Yole?
This was a commissioned piece I did for a client in Las Cruces. From the pictures chosen, to the small flowers that I fashion from polyclay, to the poetry included; these are from memories of the client. These are intimate pieces to honor those that have passed and are on a commission basis only.
Teresa Dovalpage: Thank you so much, Marlena, and I hope to see you at The Taos Gallery on March 9th. ?ŪBuena suerte!
Visit Marlena's profile in Facebook
To learn more about Patricia Padilla, visit her blog
The Taos Gallery is located at 133 Bent Street, Taos, New Mexico 87571Phone: 575.758-3911
Teresa Dovalpage is the author of the English-language novel novels A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, A Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010). She has also written and published three Spanish language novels.
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