Lina Puerta’s sculptures Untitled (Baskets and Watches) and Untitled (Baskets and Shells) are simply executed, yet they communicate a powerful message regarding the conflict between man and nature. The multimedia sculptures seek to illustrate decay as an inevitable process for organic elements. At the same time, the interplay between the man-made environment and the natural environment and its effect on the aging process is also revisited by the sculptures. In order to communicate these themes, Puerta employs a wide range of components, including concrete, fabric, leather, faux, fur, shells, beads, artificial moss, chains, beads, and Swarovski crystals, among others. This essay seeks to offer a visual analysis of Lina Puerta’s sculptures. The successful interaction of various elements and principles of design in communicating the agenda of the painting will be discussed in detail.
Illustrating the process of decay is one way in which the artist gives aesthetic beauty to the sculptures. Color as an element of design plays an important role in demonstrating this process. The color green provided by artificial moss appears in patches across the surfaces of the sculptures. These are rendered upon a surface of beige-colored boards. Patches of brown hue, on the other hand, add an element of rust. The resulting multi-colored surfaces are evocative of man-made objects that have been abandoned for a long time, allowing nature to take its toll on them.
Texture is the other element of design that is used to assign aesthetic beauty to the artworks. Visual texture is achieved by using smooth materials on the surface of the two objects. Thanks to these materials, the two sculptures appear smooth from a frontal position. At the same time, the artist incorporates the mixture of materials in order to attain tactile texture on the artwork. Untitled (Basket and Shells) demonstrates tactile best from an angular position, where the beads, chains, and shells appear to protrude. This artwork gives the mental image of natural components (particularly shells) being trapped in an abandoned man-made object. On the other hand, Untitled (Basket and Watches) delivers tactile texture from a frontal angle. Here, the polyurethane foam appears to sink into the basket mesh, thus enhancing the idea of decay. Protruding circular forms on the surface of the artwork further enhance tactile texture, while giving the mental image of an object that has decayed in an underwater environment.
The elements of color and texture are rightly balanced across each composition, thus making the sculptures to appear lifelike. Other than the principle of balance, pattern is also used to make the elements cohesive. For instance, by following the lines created by the basket mesh as well as the manner in which the polyurethane foam appears to sink into the mesh, it is easy for the viewer to conceive the idea of aging. Together, the elements and principles of design interact to achieve the intention of the artwork.
Using a multi-media sculpture to demonstrate the tension between the natural and man-made environments is no easy feat. Nonetheless, Lina Puerta’s sculptures Untitled (Baskets and Watches) and Untitled (Baskets and Shells) seamless demonstrate this theme by showing the way man-made objects may be interfering with nature. This is particularly demonstrated by Baskets and Shells, whereby shells appear to be trapped alongside chains in an underwater environment. To achieve the purpose of the artworks, the artist employs the elements of color and texture as well as the principles of balance and pattern.