María Elena González

Cuban, 1957 -
María Elena González (b. 1957) is a multi-disciplinary artist who explores the connection between sight, sound, and touch through drawing, printmaking, music, video, and performance. In her highly praised Tree Talk series, the artist captures the beauty and ephemerality of nature, transporting us and inspiring us to contemplate what our natural world would say if we listened. Gonzalez was initially inspired by an encounter with a fallen birch tree in the woods at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. This launched her into creating work over the past ten years that is a conceptually rigorous and hauntingly beautiful investigation into the sound of nature. In peeling bark from a fallen birch tree, Gonzalez was struck by how the subtle patterns and striations resemble musical notations. She set out to gather the tree’s visual DNA through rubbings, and then scanned this imprint onto paper that could be laser-cut and played through an old piano player. A tree’s melody actually realized. Cuban-born artist María Elena González is an internationally recognized sculptor based in Brooklyn, NY and San Francisco, CA. Over a career spanning thirty years she has won the Prix de Rome (2003) and more recently, Grand Prix at the 30th Biennal of Graphic Arts at Ljubljana, Slovenia (2013). She was a Guggenheim Fellow (2006) and has been awarded grants from numerous foundations including Pollock-Krasner, Joan Mitchell, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Penny McCall. She has served as the Sculpture Commissioner for New York City’s Design Commission and has also taught at Cooper Union School of Art, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and San Francisco Art Institute, among others. In 2017 Gonzalez’s work will be featured in Home-So Different, So Appealing, to be presented by the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) and organized in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her work can be found in numerous public collections including the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; Museum voor Modern Kunst, Arnhem, The Netherlands; Museum of Art, The Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; The Museum of Arts and Design, New York; and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.