Alejandra Almuelle

Circular Body
Sat Mar 23, 2024 - Thu May 9, 2024

Opening Reception | Sat, Mar 23 | 7-9pm

The focus of Alejandra Almuelle’s work is the human form. The body not only carries our genetic memory, but it is the biological archive of experience. We are historically shaped and conditioned by the environment and by the same socioeconomic structures we have participated in creating. The human body is both witness and event, as well as the field where these two aspects are at play. Her work points to this juncture. Through the human form in its different iterations, Almuelle shifts attention beyond form to what is implicit: the event, the experience that has taken place. 

Clay, loaded with intelligence, has history. It is malleable but it pushes back. Open to be shaped, it asks for the same, having a bearing on the outcome of the work. Almuelle hand builds each piece using slabs. This technique allows sculpting simultaneously from inside and outside the form. This process reflects the interplay between the body and the worlda world that expresses itself in our biology, and a body that leaves its imprint on the world it inhabits. The slab of clay becomes the metaphorical ground where that interaction takes shape. 

For this new body of work, Almuelle has incorporated, in addition to clay, materials like graphite, beeswax, paper, resin, gold and silver leaf. Almuelle also included salt, corn and soil as subtext within the installations, as an undercurrent narrative of immigration, power and value. These materials have set the color palette throughout the exhibit; hues of earth tones, black, white, gold and silver.

Circular Body consists of 8 installation pieces in which the circle is the base and unifying component. This geometrical shape evokes our notion of time, cycles and motion, like the rotation of planets and galaxies around a center. The circle, as an abstraction of the sphere, is present from eye to the telescope; from the ovule to Earth. This series has a 9th single piece Previous Body that stands symbolically as the point; the center of the circle.

Circular Body holds space for the viewer without an overload of stimuli, a meditative space in which by looking outward, the gaze is turned inward so the work can serve as a bridge, a threshold, an opened door. Almuelle believes the substance is not in the art object itself, but in the direction it is pointing to.


About The Artist

Alejandra Almuelle was born in Arequipa, Peru. She spent a few years in Pizac, in the Sacred Valley of Cuzco, a center for ceramic making. Peru is a country in which the abundance of clay has made this medium a language of artistic expression. However, it wasn’t until she moved to Austin that Almuelle began using the material. She is equally interested in the functionality of the medium as well as its sculptural expression. As a base medium, she feels that clay is appropriate for expressing the human journey because it is the stuff we are made of. 

The exploration of an idea is central to the development of Almuelle’s work. She works in a series until the idea is exhausted within the form. She has completed several series in which the common thread is the human shape. She usually finds herself in between the pull that lures her to work to see it in front of her and the challenge to translate into form what has an intangible shape in a corner of her mindʼs eye. Almuelle has participated in art fairs and exhibited in galleries and museums with both pottery and sculpture.