María de los Santos: Through the Glass - Artist Text


A house, a woman, life that crosses us with its twists and surprises, the place of origin, the fragility of the bodies, the feminine, knowledge, nocturnity, the ephemeral, the light. Words that surely refer to personal universes, different and distant from one another. For María de los Santos, a Uruguayan artist who has lived in Argentina for decades, this corpus of words and concepts are the key to access to an intimate work, extremely delicate, especially because of the symbolic power of her materiality itself.


And those turns of life are the ones that connect that material support of the small format sculptures -almost a constant in Maria's work, integrating series and groups that combine and multiply in installations capturing all the space and creating strength and magnitude in the union- with the symbolic weight that glass has for the artist. María studies the composition of the crystal to be able to model pieces where it appear in splendor, always highlighting its apparent simplicity and fluidity in the final touches, enclosing the complexity it demands to work with it in such a way that it retains that elegant, crystalline, delicious beauty, but also overwhelming, solid, sharp and aggressive. The glass reveals both sides of the same coin and only for those who know how to treat it lovingly, will it be caressed or hurt without mercy. María de los Santos knows it. It is no coincidence that her initial training was within the field of Dental Prosthesis, because it is this knowledge that will lead her to create true sculptural pieces in porcelain, manipulate ovens and manage to build minimum sizes at high cooking temperatures, elaborating works with details sometimes imperceptible.
The glass, present in her life since she was a child, always revealed as an infinite kaleidoscope, an illuminated portal that she watched mutate as hours, the seasons and the climate change went by, reflecting the refraction of that light which crossed the great colorful windows of the paternal house. A lifetime of romance with glass, being it the element chosen for her work. Only by mentioning some individual works or series are enough to account for the above. In Maria's the work, concept and materiality go hand in hand, figuration is always present and does nothing but reinforce the themes chosen emphasizing the role of women, the ephemeral, knowledge, habitat, bodies, generally using a monochromatic, crystalline palette -even when colored- and with high preponderance of the color of  blood, of wine, of the vital flow. Works such as Riveresco and Reborn (both refer to rebirth) are composed of female torso's spirals which integrate a harmonious group of vulnerabilities. In these suspended bodies, woman is represented in her constant reinvention within each of the cultures that contain her, more or less dogmatic, always fighting against some submission or disqualification. The series Woman shows faceless, anonymous women, each with its own shadow, its surroundings, where we are all in One in our essence, our struggle, intuition and wisdom.
Night Callas are also an echo of these sensual and suggestive torsos. In a synthesized version, elongated and much more suggestive than figurative, the torsos are drawn in the glass as dense deep grooves, emulating the flowers under the nightlight in that introspective silence that connects, once again, with reflection. And if it is a question of reflection, the Wisdom series presents an interesting proposal because it puts in the "fruit of the original sin" the responsibility of knowledge. And what a knowledge leis there! The emblematic apple is repeated dozens of times in three specific instances between its fullness and its decline, three states, such as "the three graces" of Greek mythology. In that quest to know, women are also reflected in the apple but not necessarily as the forbidden passion but as the possible passion, attractive and indecipherable in its entirety.
The Repairing Fissures series emphasizes the fracture - and the viewer will be the one in charge of making the necessary associations-, a vacuum that demands observation and understanding. An introspective work, powerful in terms of the physical materiality of the works presented in compact, heavy blocks, as "tables of the law", as personal as universal, cooked, sutured, healing. A work that gives rise to what the future brings with the series My private world, works that investigate the origin, the own, the roots.
María de los Santos speaks of an impulse that takes her to the edge, the limit, the shore of the depths of her being and it is only from there, from where she can begin to heal and try to repair what is damaged. From that shore facing the abyss, she builds herself as a woman and as an artist. We will have to wait to see what the tide brings us….
Lic. María Carolina Baulo, March 2020