Focus on Art
By Rob Mohr
Estela Hidalgo – The Woman Nature Loves
“Every flower is a soul blossoming …”
Gerard de Nerval
Sculptress Estela Hidalgo, confided, “I adore plants and animals — I find in them endless inspiration for my sculptures.” Her works confirm her words – they reach for rare perfection and beauty that only nature could inspire. Derived from nature, Estela’s sculptures are nuanced, three dimensional, spiritual and physical destinations – created by combining organic materials she discovers in the environment around Ajijic with carved, cast or sculpted components.
“I see in each of the objects I collect how it might work in sculptures I am mentally contemplating.”
This prescience was apparent when Estela sculpted the remarkable form that lay hidden within the base of a tree located in the southwest corner of the Zocalo of Ajijic.
During my first interview with the artist, I felt a spiritual connection with her works of art. Estela’s striving for beauty give her works viable presence – they evoke new life – life as proposed by neuroscientist Christof Koch whose studies indicate every fiber of creation shares in a universal consciousness. Perhaps his Quantum Physics view of the universe is why participants often feel a spiritual connection with her art. For many, communication, and a spiritual exchange, with works of art seems normal, even expected. Her intuitive visions draw viewers into the world populated by nature’s children.
“Nourish your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art…” Vincent Van Gogh
Her sculptures are also stories about nature told in a symbolic and metaphorical language so that the viewer becomes enmeshed in humanity’s relationship with nature. Stories told with forms, dimensions, textures and colors – amplified by Estela’s creative interaction with the natural world. Her sculptured stories remind us that we are nature, our actions are organic components of nature, and our dreams and visions reflect humanity’s enduring relationship with nature. Our focus is enlarged, and the physical, spiritual and emotional world in which we live comes into sharper focus.
Structurally Estela’s works are reminiscent of Ikebana, the Japanese art of creating the perfect floral arrangement. Estela’s The Spirit of Aphrodite is an ideal combination of materials (wood, stone, bronze, and objects from nature) which together form a floral passage which suggests a bird in flight. This outward thrust enables the sculpture to occupy and shape the surrounding space. Her attention to the visual weight and balance of components (the warmth of the bronze, the cold of the alabaster), significantly contributes to the perception of the sculpture’s intrinsic beauty.
In contrast her sculpture Moon Flower is compact, focused inward, and has a well balanced integration of materials. Cast bronze vines embrace a base of carved, aged wood – a bronze sepal cradles a sculpted alabaster flower with organic anthers and delicate filaments that together provide variety, scale and line color. Estela’s deft use of materials in all of her works, demonstrates her sculptural genius. Moon Flower offers a perfect symphonic movement of the visual elements – a destination familiar and loved.
Her sculptures stand as stark, yet beautiful, analytic propositions that integrate abstraction on top of abstraction with visual metaphors to create new realities. They speak a coded language – a modality set by the creative force, or weight, of her works – which insures her art significant presence. Participants are made part of the process of creation, if only for a moment. Her philosophical understanding of art provides a conceptual foundation that shapes our aesthetic response, not to her methodology or the works structure, rather to deepen our union with the broader universe.
The life of this woman nature loves is fully committed to her work and the environmental causes she supports – Estela shared as we parted, “I would rather die for a cause than live without purpose.”
Link to works online –
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com