By Gina Perez for Artburst Miami, March 2022
When you ask abstract artist Yolanda Sánchez what reaction she hopes to evoke when one views her work, she quickly answers — joy and beauty. Sánchez says, “For you to have a moment of contemplation; a moment that stops you. We all need to have a little joy and beauty in our everyday lives. Joy, it’s very simple. Color brings you joy.”
After obtaining her PhD in clinical psychology and practicing for 14 years, Sánchez followed her heart and attended Florida International University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts; then continued on to Yale University School of Art for her Master in Fine Arts in Painting. Although a licensed practicing clinical psychologist, to date, she now dedicates her time to her art. “I am a painter; always a painter,” says Sánchez. Her medium of choice is oil, as it gives the transparency and illumination that she likes. She finds inspiration in her surroundings. From a very young age, she was drawn to nature; attracted by the beauty of its colors. Her paintings reflect her environment, finding motivation in the native flowers of South Florida to create both her oil paintings and now her textile work.
Color and light are also very important elements in her art, both in her paintings and textile creations. To create the textile works, she uses silk organza, a very translucent fabric that she layers to create depth to the pieces.
Her small studio in Miami serves a dual purpose: as a place where she creates her oil paintings and a place where the easel and paints are replaced with a sewing machine to create her textile work. Sánchez interprets her surroundings in the centuries-old textile work of Bojagi; a traditional Korean folk art form. The Bojagi art form complements Sánchez’s abstract paintings; “it’s like painting with textiles,” said Sánchez.
Her most recent project, The Earth Laughs in Flowers, is an abstract garden of silk organza that welcomes travelers to Miami International Airport and invites them to slow down and enjoy the space they are in. A way of saying welcome to this tropical paradise, the installation is composed of varying sized squares of fabric that are combined and layered to produce varying tones, hues, and depths of color. The vibrant colors of fuchsia, pink, rose, and red Sánchez uses represent the tropical flowers that are native to South Florida such as hibiscus, bougainvilleas, heliconia, anthurium, and ginger.
“Kudos to MIA for continuing to feature dynamic exhibitions like The Earth Laughs in Flowers, which provide passengers a colorful and entertaining diversion from the hustle and bustle of traveling,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “I am always proud to see the work of our gifted local artists on display throughout MIA, where visitors get their first impression of the rich culture and artistic talent Miami-Dade County has to offer.”
Born in Havana, Cuba, she grew up in Miami; yet, her art has her traveling the world, exhibiting her work nationally and internationally. Sánchez’s next solo show will take place in New York City at the Kathryn Markel Fine Arts Gallery in May 2022, the gallery that represents her. The textile work she created for the airport site-specific installation played a major role in influencing the new collection of oil paintings she will present at the solo show. Her new series offers bolder interpretations in beautiful rich colors. And in 2023, the Deering Estates will be the backdrop to her new textile exhibit, curated by Adriana Herrera.
Yolanda Sánchez is also a curator and writer and formerly the Director of Fine Arts & Cultural Affairs at Miami International Airport, a position that first began 21-years ago as a part time post that grew and developed into a full time position as director.
“If I can bring some joy and beauty to the world through my work, it pleases me,” said Sánchez. To see some of her paintings, visit her web page at Yolanda Sanchez Studio.
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