Xochi Solis’ time at the Uprise Art x Object Limited Residency in Bisbee, AZ, included close consideration of identity and the earth itself. Xochi walks us through some themes from her time in Arizona as well as giving us a behind the scenes look at how her layered collage works come to life.
“Being of Mexican descent, I am continually curious about the stories we are told about the Southwest in history books and magazines, since the land was Mexico only 170 years ago and before that was home to a multitude of indigenous peoples. Even though my ancestors and I came from the land now called Texas, my version of living in the borderlands is so different than folks in Arizona.”
“I have long been infatuated with minerals and gems. Found images of marble, crystal, and granite have been tucked into the layers of my collages for years, but being surrounded by the mountainous landscape of southern Arizona enhanced my obsession to new levels. I like to think about the layers of time and life stored into these mineral objects is echoed in the layers of my compositions. ”
“Not all, but certainly many artists like me rely on continually feeding ourselves with knowledge in order to make stronger, more meaningful bodies of work. One essay in particular I revisited was Ana Mendieta’s Dialectics of Isolation where she speaks to a certain time when people take consciousness of themselves and ask questions about who they are. In a tiny town where I was very much the minority, I began to acquire an awareness of myself that I would not have if I was surrounded by a multitude of people. I began to make work more slowly, taking great consideration of my actions in the context of performing identity.”
“Sometimes I like to think of the layers in my work coming together out of a need to be in a relationship with one another. One color needs another in order to fully shine, a shape can only be held down in space if another shape is placed with it.”
“In the center of Bisbee gaped an abandoned pit that covers 300 acres, 950 feet deep, and is a result of the removal of 351 million tons of material. Named the Lavender Pit, this defunct mine was part of the Copper Queen Mine, run by the Phelps Dodge Corporation from 1879 to 1975. It viscerally impacted me and I thought, is this an open wound or a beautiful theater of wonder?”
“While in Bisbee, I found myself very much isolated from the outside world. I did not make many human connections down there, but the deepening of my connection to the earth was profound.”