My work is rooted in my intrinsic relationship with Colombia’s bio-political landscape, particularly the vulnerable rainforest. My contemporary vision of its astounding diversity, the interdependence of its life forms and its precarious fate is framed by the vision of botanist José Celestino Mutis and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who in the 18th and 19th centuries compulsively documented the flora and fauna of this land previously unknown to Europe.
Like them, I have been profoundly affected by witnessing this territory at first hand (on my anthropologist father’s expeditions). My methodology also echoes theirs. I collect specimens in the field and libraries, study their surfaces and structures to build the digital archive from which I create intricately layered and densely detailed reinventions of the natural Colombian landscape.
These digital paintings and collages of ever-increasing size form immersive environments, surrounding the viewer with nature. However, the nature I create is mostly monochrome, its lack of color both referencing analogue technologies like engraving, and acting as metaphor for the endangered natural world. A few details I paint in gold, reminders of the devastating cost of man’s avarice.
In works like Perpetual Flight (2016), I aim to evoke the wonder of discovery, while acknowledging the double-edged sword of science and the colonial exploitation and destruction that it often unleashes. My work can be viewed as an urgent call to preserve endangered ecosystems; and as a signpost to issues that are still being contested in bitter scientific and political battles.