Artists & Artworks
Remedios Varo (1908–1963)
Exploration of the Source of the Orinoco River
Maria de los Remedios Varo y Uranga spent her
childhood traveling in Spain and North Africa. Her
father, a hydraulic engineer, inspired her lifelong
fascination with mechanical drawings, mathematics, and
fantastic machines as evidenced
in Exploration of the Source of
the Orinoco River.
Married to the Surrealist poet
Benjamin Peret, she spent several years in Barcelona, actively
participating in the flourishing
avant-garde environment there.
Years later, while living in Mexico, Varo developed a pictorial painting style that communicated her fascination with the occult, dreams, and
legends through ethereal imagery.
Varo often worked in oil on masonite to complete her
meticulously rendered paintings, each delicate brush-stroke reinforcing her spiritual yet analytical reflections.
Paintings such as Spiral Transit incorporate allegorical
imagery that documents Varo’s personal life journeys.
painstaking attention to detail, as evidenced in the indi-
vidually sculpted blue dogs and pipe-cleaner carpeting of
The Green House. A consummate perfectionist, she has
often spent up to six months producing a single scene.
The resulting multimedia scenes may be a commentary
on popular culture or an examination of shifting bound-
aries, always infused with a
touch of irony.
“I took advantage of all that I
learned, in painting the things that
interested me . . . which could be
called, together with technique,
the beginning of my personality.”
Sandy Skoglund (b. 1946) The Green House
Born in Quincy, Massachusetts, Sandy Skoglund studied
studio art and art history at Smith College and studied
filmmaking, intaglio printmaking, and multimedia art
at the University of Iowa.
Her surreal images are elaborate sets, often overrun
with four-legged creatures or completely carpeted in
brightly colored chenille. A self-taught photographer,
she photographs the final scene, completed with live
actors. Skogund personally conceives, creates, directs,
and records her surrealistic tableau work. In control
of every aspect of the creative process, Skoglund pays
Trenton Doyle Hancock
(b. 1974) A Better Promise
Born in Oklahoma City, Okla-
homa, and raised in Texas,
Trenton Doyle Hancock earned
his BFA from Texas A&M Uni-
versity and his MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Phila-
delphia. Drawing from Bible stories learned as a young
child, as well as comic book heroes, cartoons, and music,
Hancock has created a fantastic, mythical saga in which
the spiteful Vegans, who have lost their ability to see in
color, pursue peace-loving creatures called Mounds. Color
is very important as Hancock explores contemporary
moral dilemmas and develops the Mound narrative, often
reinterpreting and incorporating it in his prints, drawings,
collaged felt paintings, and assemblage paintings.
An avid collector of things like postcards, toys, and
plastic bottle caps, Hancock incorporates these objects
into his large paintings. He even encourages viewers in
Seattle to bring colored plastic bottle caps to feed to the
art, thereby bringing “mounds of color” to the large-scale
installation titled A Better Promise.
Hancock has also collaborated on Ballet Austin’s Cult
of Color: Call to Color, animating his narrative through
whimsical costume, dance, and music.
Remedios Varo, Spiral Transit, 1962. ©2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VEGAP, Madrid.
Cao Fei (b. 1978) RMB City 4
Cao Fei was born in Guangzhou, China. She earned a
BFA from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2001.
Describing her work as a reflection of the fluidity of
a world in which cultures mix and diverge in rapid
evolution, her video installations and new media
works are filmed in a Chinese factory and exist in
the virtual world of Second Life. Cao Fei explores
the discrepancy between reality and dream by applying strategies such as sampling, role-playing, and
documentary filmmaking to capture the essence of
personal longing and the ways people imagine themselves outside their realities.
Not afraid to explore the disillusionment and
growing discontent of China’s younger generation in
images that recall traditional Chinese painting seen
through a contemporary lens, Cao Fei has designed
her own virtual utopia, RMB City. She has also created several works in which she is both participant
and observer through her avatar, China Tracy, who
serves as guide, philosopher, and tourist of the Second Life virtual reality.