BIO
María Velasco is a Spanish-born artist who has been living and working in the USA since the 1990s.  She is an Associate Professor of Visual Art at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where she currently lives.  Her interdisciplinary work consists of site-specific environments, sculptural objects, and temporary public art commissions.

Her work has been exhibited in Spain, Mexico, Argentina (Spanish Cultural Center in Rosario), Paraguay and Germany and featured in Art In America and Sculpture Magazine.  She has conducted independent curatorial projects, discussion panels, and workshops nationally and abroad.

Exhibitions in the United States:
The Soap Factory, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, California
ARC Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Spencer Art Museum, Lawrence, Kansas
Paula Cooper Gallery and Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, NYC

María Velasco

EXHIBITIONS

A Very Long Night

23.05.2012 to 16.06.2012



The exhibition A Very Long Night opened on May 23, presenting the work of Spanish artist María Velasco.

María Velasco is a Spanish artist who has lived for many years in the heart of the American Midwest (Lawrence, Kansas), a place that in our collective consciousness is associated with Wild West films, cattle and cowboys.  However, the bridge formed by the cities of Lawrence and Kansas City (on both sides of the same river) has resulted in a hotbed for institutions and proposals in the arts.  Some notable examples include:  Atkins Art Museum (with its new contemporary art building), Spencer Museum, Kemper Museum, and the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  In addition, artist residencies are offered by the Kansas City Art Coalition (KCAC) and Grand Arts (with a focus in sculpture and the production of three-dimensional works) and the Lawrence Lithography Workshop (in the printmaking field).  Finally, there is the presence of prestigious educational institutions such as the Kansas City Art Institute (with 150 years of existence) and the University of Kansas at Lawrence.  

In this project Maria approaches, from the perspective of a contemporary artist, the collective consciousness concerning the region in which she has lived for twenty years.  Under the apparent innocence of the images utilized -a kind of oxymoron- she brings to the surface a blistering subject that is present in the global media:  the sexual abuse of children.  In most cases, the aggressor is a members of the child´s immediate environment, which makes these abuses a chilling paradox; those who have the mission to nurture and care for are the ones who produce irreversible damage.  We adhere to this project, which becomes a channel to draw attention to this problem that affects society as a whole. AC


ARTIST STATEMENT

My project is the creation of an installation combining large-scale digital prints and animation.  The digital prints are inspired by a book of poems written by a close family member about his experience of childhood sexual abuse.  In the poem, a brother and sister describe their make-believe games of cowboys and Indians.  The often incorporate an adult character who visits them at night and "plays" with them.  The children refer to their visitor as "Buffalo Bill."  In actuality, the person is their sexual abuser. 
The prints use imagery exoked by the poem:  the old west, cowboys, cattle, and railroads.  Additionally, I have layered children´s drawings and imagery based on found and family photographs.  The prints exoke an emerging narrative which is the seed for the animation along with a multilayered soundtrack that reinforces the collision of the various worlds:  battle scenes, the worries of adults, and the fragility of children, all in a single pictorial plane.   

Funded in part by The Lighton International Artists Exchange Program, A Project of The Kansas City Artists Coalition.

Sponsors:

Visual Art Department, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Visual Art Department, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Shimomura Fund, Visual Art Department, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
School of The Arts, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
General Research Fund, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Office of International Programs, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS