Giving life and meaning to inanimate objects is first, the passion and then the work of Dolores Furtado, a Brooklyn based sculptor from Buenos Aires. Dolores is a very curious woman who carries out technical research and experiments before making her unique pieces. Dolores' sculptures favor movement, evolution and action and reject static. In fact, when observing her art it is possible to notice different shapes and particular lines, which are unpredictable like nature.
We had the pleasure of meeting Dolores and asked her about her creative process and what lies behind her work.
I believe materials carry meaning, and they are spiritually charged. In my world, matter and spirit are the same thing in different forms.
Hi Dolores tell us who you are and where are you from?
I’m Dolores Furtado, a Brooklyn based sculptor born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
When did you approach the world of sculpture?
I started working with sculpture by accident, while taking a painting class. They gave me an exercise using wire, to study space and depth in painting. I fell in love with sculpture and I never painted again.
Tell us about your creative process. From the sketch to the realization.
My practice is the result of my interest in matter, which I expose in a raw naked way: matter becomes body. In a wide range of formats and sizes, my sculptures highlight process, through tactile marks, object prints, mould seams, de-colourations, drips, and cracks. Every step of the process adds a new layer of information, and the final piece is not a pre-designed object, but only the outcome of a series of actions with an open end.
I think of my sculptures as documentation of process and action. That being said, I never sketch a sculpture, and I don’t know what the piece will look like until
the end. Like an alchemist, my practice is based on the idea of transforming materials into different states. I believe materials carry meaning, and they are spiritually charged.
In my world, matter and spirit are the same thing in different forms.
Are there any artists you are inspired by?
When I work, I’m mostly inspired by materials, process and nature.
I admire the work of Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Lynda Benglis, Agnes Denes, Gego, Ana Mendieta, Lola Mora, among others.
What techniques do you use?
I do mostly but not exclusively mould making, casting and laminating. I love techniques, and I’m always exploring new materials, so I’m eager to study and incorporate new ones. I usually use and combine materials in non traditional ways. I have an experimental approach to my practice, and I like to invent new systems for casting and different ways of making moulds. I explore new materialities. Part of my process is to try new techniques with little planning or previous knowledge in order to get unexpected outcomes.
I usually use and combine materials in non traditional ways. I have an experimental approach to my practice, and I like to invent new systems.
Where do you usually create? Do you like being in your studio or surrounded by nature?
As many sculptors, I have a heavy studio practice. Most of my works are made in the studio. When I make outdoors work, I like to do it on site. It’s not always possible but it’s the ideal scenario for me. My outdoors pieces merge with the landscape.
Looking at your sculptures, you seem to play a lot with shapes to create something abstract. What is abstract for you?
I work with abstraction in order to focus on the material, and to experience the piece with almost no references. To me, the interaction with the artwork is a private moment, that aims to evoke unnamed, unidentified perceptions.
You use different materials in your work, what is the most difficult material to work with in your opinion?
I don’t see materials as something difficult to work with. Materials do their thing, and I’m just a channel.
Many of my works, particularly the big ones, are influenced by the spiritual world and the supernatural phenomena. I’m attracted to several esoteric disciplines, and I often see things through the lens of magic.
Have you presented your works in different exhibitions? Tell us about one of your exhibitions.
My latest solo exhibitions include: ”Supernatural”, Kings borough College Museum, Brooklyn (2019), “Lo nube”, Vasari Gallery, Buenos Aires (2018) and “Ultimate Nature”, duo show with Cecilia Biagini, Clemente Soto Cultural Center, New York City (2017). Recent groups shows include : “La trama y lo diáfano”, Vasari Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2018); 4th AIM Biennial , Bronx Museum of the Arts (2 017) ; A.I.R. Gallery Biennial , A.I.R Gallery, Brooklyn (2017); Epsilon, abstracciones descentradas, MACBA, Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires (2016); Governors Island Art Fair (2015 and 2016); Arcos de Conexión , Museum of Contemporary Art of Bahía Blanca, Argentina ( 2014); Una persistente
forma de estar en el mundo,Casa de la Cultura del Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014); among others.
I particularly remember one of my first solo shows, called Protoforme, at Abate Gallery in Buenos Aires, in 2013. The room was occupied only by two big translucent, iceberg-looking, resin sculptures. In my mind, I often go back to that space, I like to revisit that cold austere atmosphere.
Do you have a project you are particularly attached to?
I love all my works. But the making of the work “Vortex” was quite challenging and exciting. It’s a 20 feet tall sculpture I made at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota. I worked the whole time on scaffolding; at a certain point I was lifted by a forklift. This work is called Vortex, as a door to enter different planes of existence. I believe in the existence of a spiritual plane where everything is energy. Many of my works, particularly the big ones, are influenced by the spiritual world and the supernatural phenomena. I’m attracted to several esoteric disciplines, and I often see things through the lens of magic.
Works like Dissolution and Vortex seem to break into everyday life, leaving the visitor baffled. What would you like to communicate through your art?
My works generate a climate of introspection and intimacy, aiming to reconnect with our inner world. As an artist, I seek to integrate the human experience with a sense of belonging to the universe, a system we are part of but we seem unaware of.
Do what you love, don’t follow the trends.
As an artist, how do you react to words of criticism?
I like to be criticized. That doesn’t mean I agree with all opinions, but I do like to hear them if they’re constructive. You learn a lot through criticism.
What would you recommend to young artists who want to enter the world of sculpture?
Do what you love, don’t follow the trends.
What is art for you?
A space to explore new ideas.
A reminder of what’s relevant.
A clue to my origins.
A question with no answer.
What are your future projects?
In terms of exhibits, I will be showing paper pulp works at “Paper Routes—Women to Watch 2020”, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC.
In terms of new works, I’m currently working on a project related to making pulp with natural fibers, but it’s still in an early stage of development. Although It’s a work in progress, I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves. It’s fascinating to be able to make sculptures with everything that surrounds us.
Follow Dolore's work on Instagram.
Interview & Article by
Vivian di Lorenzo