Edra Soto. The Myth of Closure

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/67896-edra-soto-the-myth-of-closure

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce Edra Soto: The Myth of Closure / El Mito del
Cierre, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

Acceptance, resignation, the will to move forward. To find closure is to find a finality and let go of what once
was – but how do we find peace when the memories and feelings are still alive?
In this exhibition of new work, Edra Soto has transformed her practice to honor the loss of what once was,
while seeking a path of acceptance for the transition of her aging mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She
channels her struggle to reconcile this new reality through deconstruction, collage, and familiar themes in her
art practice, in a new series of works entitled, The Myth of Closure | El Mito del Cierre.

The Myth of Closure | El Mito del Cierre is a deeply personal body of work exploring loss, the now
complicated associations of home, and figurative closure. This new work builds on an ongoing project
entitled, GRAFT. Soto began using this series of architectural interventions in 2012 and it consists of
representations of rejas (wrought iron fences and screens) and quiebrasoles (concrete breeze blocks), the
decorative elements ever-present in mid-twentieth century Puerto Rican vernacular architecture.

GRAFT also makes visible the role that African diasporic traditions have played and continue to play in Puerto
Rican architecture. Most importantly, however, GRAFT, is Soto’s personal exploration of home and serves as
a container for her own relationship to home in Puerto Rico and the United States, where she currently
resides.

The Myth of Closure | El Mito del Cierre, transforms the literal and conceptual framework of GRAFT using
textural elements, colors, and designs that pay homage to the facades of homes in the neighborhood where
her mother is being cared for and now lives – a neighborhood that is past its prime and largely forgotten.
Encased within the architectural structures that Soto has built are large heart-shaped openings symbolizing
the care with which one frames a memory or a person’s likeness.

For Soto, the heart represents love, fidelity and compassion, and serves as a way to honor the past while
processing the vulnerabilities of the present moment. Indeed, the challenges of the past two years have
compounded feelings of loss and grief for so many, personally and culturally, and generated a collective
trauma. During this time Soto has grappled with questions of: How do we let go? How do we adapt?

As in previous iterations of GRAFT, viewfinders are embedded throughout the structure, inviting guests to
physically interact with the work in order to see an image related to Soto’s life in Puerto Rico. Looking into
these ocular portals, one is met with images of Soto’s mother in the home she raised her children, framed
family photos, memorabilia, as well as photographic examples of rejas and quiebrasoles upon which this work
is based.

The act of approaching the structure and peering through these viewfinders is an intimate performance, as it
is a window into precious, personal memories that Soto has chosen to commemorate and a glimpse of
objects she holds dear. Perhaps, unbeknownst to them, a viewer’s participation represents their willingness to
discover and empathize, and a commitment to understanding what Soto is honoring in her heart and with this
work.

Edra Soto is a Puerto-Rican born multidisciplinary artist who investigates issues of race, class, cultural
origins, colonialism, and political power structures, drawing on her own upbringing and relationship to
diasporic identity to produce art that is both highly personal and universally resonate. Through her work, Soto
aims to engage with audiences directly and empathetically, often subverting the conventions of art-viewing
experience to create larger conversations where viewers might play an active role.

Recent venues presenting Soto’s work include Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s new satellite
venue, The Momentary, Bentonville, AR; Albright-Knox Northland, Buffalo, NY; Chicago Cultural Center,
Chicago, IL; Smart Museum, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; and the
Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Chicago, IL. In 2019, Soto completed the public art commission
titled Screenhouse on view at the Millennium Park, Boeing Gallery North through April 2022. Soto has
attended residency programs at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine; Beta-Local in Puerto
Rico; the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency in Florida; Headlands Center for the Arts in California;
Project Row Houses in Texas; and Art Omi in New York, among others.

Soto is the recipient of several awards including a 2020 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting and Sculpture
Grant, 2019 Illinois Arts Council Agency Fellowship, 2019 inaugural Foundwork Artist Prize, and a 2016
Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, among others. Between 2019-2020 Soto’s work was included in
three exhibitions supported by the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund: “Repatriation at
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico,” “Cross Currents” at the Smart Museum, and “Close to There” in Salvador,
Brazil. Soto holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from
Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/67896-edra-soto-the-myth-of-closure