Julia Santos Solomon
Julia Santos Solomon is a visionary interdisciplinary artist. One of the most successful contemporary Dominican artists on the landscape today. She has employed each media with a sense of curiosity and prayer for guidance. Her body of work speaks to the full range of one woman's life experience of a vibrant cultural heritage. Color feeds her soul and is used to interpret both personal and universal impulses. Her ability to instruct and inspire new generations of artists epitomizes a generosity of spirit, particularly true of the contributions she's made in the Dominican Republic as a founding faculty member at the Altos de Chavon School of Design. Now archived at the Dominican Studies Institute at City University in NY, and the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in Washington, DC, Santos Solomon is recognized for a greater contribution- that of exemplifying authentic self-expression in service to her community and to the world of art in general.
The art represented is the most current in my studio practice. It brings together several bodies of work and experiments with layers of gold, the precious indigenous metal taken from my birthplace by European conquerors. As I worked, I discovered that in applying gold leaf to images that resembled island shapes, I was in fact re-appropriating the gold to the Caribbean Islands.
The work signifies a shift from displacement (experienced by immigration and struggle ) to ascension ( expressed by the divine and a sense of having been elevated to new ground) to a place of glory. So, everything is seen anew as the island's landscape seamlessly shifts from a traditional view to an aerial view.
The Mash-ups are personal family narratives that speak to several generations of the Dominican women in my family preoccupied with struggling with identity, much like the immigrant youth in this country who can also draw strength from the understanding their roots. "Four Year Old Mash-up" is a self-portrait at the age when I was separated from my mother due to immigration, whereas "Gabina Mash-up" represents my grandmother who managed to keep our family united through separation. Landscape and the figure fuse as inner self is immersed in its rightful place of origin, an island rich in natural resources and spirit.