CRISTINA CÓRDOVA

Puerto Rican, b. 1976, Boston, MA
lives and works in Penland, NC

Native to Puerto Rico, Cristina Córdova creates figurative compositions that explore the boundary between the materiality of an object and our involuntary dialogues with the self-referential. Images captured through the lens of a Latin American upbringing question socio-cultural notions of gender, race, beauty, and power.  Córdova has received numerous grants including the North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship Grant, a Virginia Groot Foundation Recognition Grant, several International Association of Art Critics of Puerto Rico awards, and a prestigious United States Artist Fellowship award in 2015.

Córdova has had solo exhibitions at the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, (Alfred, NY), and her work is included in the collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, (Washington, DC), Colección Acosta de San Juan Puerto Rico, (San Juan, PR), the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, (Charlotte, NC), and Museum of Contemporary Art, (San Juan, PR). In 1998, Córdova completed her BA at the University of Puerto Rico, and she received her MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2002. Córdova is represented by Ferrin Contemporary.

ON HER WORK

Through my work I seek to generate figurative compositions that explore the boundary between the material driven, sensorial experience of an object and the psychological resonance of our involuntary dialogues with the self-referential.

I am driven by the primal act of imbuing an inanimate representation with a sense of presence, transforming it into the inspired repository of our deepest longings and aspirations. My goal is to have these compositions perform both as reflections of our shared humanity as well as question socio-cultural notions of gender, race, beauty and power.

Cristina Córdova, “Altar”, 2019, detail, ceramic and photograph installation, 83 x 75 x 82″

ON PHOTOGRAPHY

Cristina Cordóva considers photography a background practice to her primary focus of sculpture. She employs it to expand the context of the figure by engaging the wall behind or the pedestal underneath it. It all began when after a few material experiments and some research, Cordóva started looking at old landscape photographs of Puerto Rico. She came across the work of Jack Delano, a Ukrainian born, American photographer who wound up in Puerto Rico through the Farm Security Administration. After becoming the official government photographer for Puerto Rico he took innumerable heroic images of daily Puerto Rican life, rural and city-center alike. Cordova began combining Delano’s copyright-free images with her own photography. “I persist on the idea that I’m referencing the viewpoint of someone I know through these images,” she explains. “I’m trying to capture or build a sense of veracity through the careful selection of real places portrayed in current and historical photographs. By combining them with my sculpture I’m proposing a new relationship, a fantasy that is grounded in reality, a feigned diorama of sorts in the museum of my imagination.”

Cristina Córdova, “Desde mi Balcón”, 2021, ceramic and metal, 33 x 14.5 x 10″

ON THE BALCONY

The balcony is an iconic location in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. It offers a momentary escape from the domestic realm, a furtive viewpoint to survey the world from above. Balcony dwellers are part of the street insofar as they can watch life with its protests and processions, yet they are separate and contained in their own sheltered moment. After creating several of her own, the balcony has started to become an archetype in Cristina Cordóva’s studio. “Beyond describing a specific narrative,” says Cordóva, “I am interested in staging a composition that triggers an emotional charge through the recognition of certain repeating elements as part of a series.” Those elements include architectural components, the nude figure and unruly foliage, symbols related to the experience of femininity in a religious and masculine culture, notions of exposure and vulnerability, and the psychology of place.

Cristina Córdova, “Vestigio”, 2020, 16 x 29.5 x 9″. ceramic, underglaze, glaze.

ON NATURE/NURTURE

I was born into a household that both challenged and upheld gender archetypes. This simultaneity created a fluid identity in my creative perspective that has moved me to engage with a wide spectrum of narrative embodiments from the sexually untethered and universal to the absolutely feminine. I am human, I am Puerto Rican, I am a woman. Each of these breaks into a thousand fractals that create the prism through which my work comes into the world.

FC Artist News | Cristina Córdova | PBS Craft in America | New Works in Nature/Nurture

Cristina Córdova: Jungla installation. photo: Brian Oglesbee

ON JUNGLA

At its most basic level Jungla refers to a region of dense, intractable wilderness that sustains an ongoing evolutionary dance governed by uncivilized forces. This tropical landscape of my youth is a beacon to an identity, tying me back to a specific geography and the sediment of generations. It’s unrelenting influence speaks of luscious yet ominous constructs that echo the socio-political conditions in the Caribbean. It’s unruly mystery seeps out of its confines to also serve as metaphor for a creative process anchored in that liminal space between chaos and balance. A practice that gathers significance amidst the subconscious forces that underpin reality and the firm directives of the ego. Through image and form, Jungla explores the relationship between these human and geographic connections.

CRISTINA CÓRDOVA
VIRTUAL WORKSHOP

* Cristina is offering this code for a 25% discount: LEARNFROMHOME *

 

JOIN OVER 100 STUDENTS!

ABOUT THE COURSE

I am excited to share my first online course with you. This class gathers 18 years of insight and information regarding the head that I put to use daily in my own studio practice. The course takes you step by step to help you navigate the structure and surface of the head through detailed demos, patterns and diagrams that simplify the complicated dynamics of the human form. It is designed to meet you at any level. This versatile slab-building approach will empower you to build fabulous, hollow ceramic heads at any scale. Let’s jump in!

Because of the slow, gradual unfolding of a clay sculpture it is often hard to relay the full arc of a piece from beginning to end in the traditional workshop context. This course will offer an intimate vantage point to study and understand all of the steps, tools and materials that come into play to create a clay head. With the methods showcased in this course and the open floor chat sessions between demonstrations to answer questions you will be fully empowered to create clay heads of different scales in your own studio. This course includes supplemental printed material that follows the course structure and several opt-ins to customize your experience.

CURRENT + RECENT EXHIBITIONS

Cristina Córdova on Craft in America

Cristina Córdova featured on Craft in America on PBS. New Episode "Identity" Premieres on 12/27/2019. Check your local listings. Artists explore issues of gender, race, culture and place, offering true...

Cristina Córdova: Del balcón

CRISTINA CÓRDOVA: DEL BALCÓN at FERRIN CONTEMPORARY 1315 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA Cristina Córdova, "Del balcón III" 2018, ceramic and steel, 33 x 28 x 13" CRISTINA CÓRDOVA:...

ARTIST NEWS: CRISTINA CÓRDOVA

  CRISTINA CÓRDOVA New York, Pittsburgh, Massachusetts, Indonesia   CRISTINA CÓRDOVA: JUNGLA solo exhibition  Alfred Ceramic Art Museum at Alfred University, Alfred, NY February 2–July 16, 2018 Opening Reception: February...

The Women

Ferrin Contemporary presents selected works by women artists whose primary medium is clay. On view in the gallery and online, we introduce new works by emerging and established artists along with masterworks available from private collections and artist archives.

The Charlotte Observer: Cristina Cordova

The Charlotte Observer: Cristina Córdova "Near and Far by Cristina Córdova is worth a drive to Penland" by Mark Leach, correspondent for The Charlotte Observer  "The human forms Córdova sculpts...

Explore the human form in-depth, from concept sketches and armatures to detailed instructions for constructing legs, torso, arms, hands, and head from clay.

In Mastering Sculpture: The Figure in Clay, renowned sculptor and instructor Cristina Córdova teaches everything you need to know to replicate the full human figure using clay.
Start by developing meaningful sketches and reference points.

Then learn how to make and use an armature to create hollow forms that are safe to fire in a kiln.

Using patterns and slabs, you can move on to develop a full human form, head to toe.
Work along with the author to create a form about two feet tall, or choose your own size: the patterns and instructions can work in a variety of scales.

Photographic demonstrations and diagrams cover the construction and articulation of feet and legs, the hip area and upper torso, arms, hands, neck, and head. Cristina includes supplementary tips and insights throughout to support the sculpting process and enhance naturalism. You’ll also find a brief section on general anatomical concepts and modeling strategies to facilitate accuracy and expression as all the components come together.

Whether you are a clay artist with limited experience in figurative sculpture or a figurative sculptor outside the world of ceramics looking for a straightforward fabrication strategy to create permanent compositions from clay, Mastering Sculpture: The Figure in Clay will expertly guide your way.

Publication Date: 2022, Quarry Books
Fully illustrated 192 pages

Mastering Sculpture: The Figure in Clay Catalog by Cristina Córdova

Mastering Sculpture: The Figure in Clay Catalog by Cristina Córdova

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Exhibition catalog for IN DIALOGUE: Cristina Córdova & Kukuli Velarde at Ferrin Contemporary, Oct. 16 – Dec. 30, 2021. With luscious photos and detailed artist statements, this catalog gives depth and insight into the motivations behind the exhibition and the artworks therein.

Publication Date: 2021, Ferrin Contemporary
Fully illustrated 36 pages

IN DIALOGUE: Cristina Córdova & Kukuli Velarde Catalog

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This catalog features a foreword by Wayne Higby, Director of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum. The exhibition catalog also includes color photography of the artworks and installation from Cristina’s solo exhibition at the museum in 2018: CRISTINA CÓRDOVA: Jungla

Publication Date: 2018
Fully illustrated 32 pages

“At its most basic level Jungla refers to a region of dense, intractable wilderness that sustains an ongoing evolutionary dance governed by uncivilized forces. This tropical landscape of my youth is a beacon to an identity, tying me back to a specific geography and the sediment of generations. Its unrelenting influence speaks of luscious yet ominous constructs that echo the socio-political conditions in the Caribbean. Its unruly mystery seeps out of its confines to also serve as a metaphor for a creative process anchored in that liminal space between chaos and balance. A practice that gathers significance amidst the subconscious forces that underpin reality and the firm directives of the ego. Through image and form, Jungla explores the relationship between these human and geographic connections.” — Cristina Córdova

Cristina Córdova: Jungla Catalog

Cristina Córdova: Jungla Catalog

Buy now

 

CRISTINA CÓRDOVA: cuerpo exquisito at Hodges Taylor

 

VIDEOS FEATURING CRISTINA CÓRDOVA

Artists explore issues of gender, race, culture and place, offering true expressions of their experience in this world.

Featuring potter Diego Romero, photographer Cara Romero, furniture maker Wendy Maruyama, and sculptor Cristina Córdova.