Esmeralda Montes

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What Is My Work About?
My paintings stem from fragments. For me, fragments are documentations of events that are linked together. Films, articles, biographies, paintings and personal experience inform each event. With each painting, I create a fragment of information that records visual experiences, histories, and narratives that are re-purposed to fabricate a new story. The fragments/paintings serve as a reference point to one of the collected sources and become linked through an underlying context. Each painting depends on the other in order to support or inform the next one. Each fragment is not an independent clause, but rather an essential element that links each source, allowing for their evolution.

Artist Statement

My work focuses on the idea of free-formed narratives. I examine my personal history, as it relates to my background, social media platforms, landscape, and film. I am interested in collecting information to fuse and form new contexts. With painting, I can alter states that were once factual to represent an alternative history. The paintings reflect a narrative that have no beginning or end, and must rely on each other in order to inform the future or past series. I often try to paint a subject and work in opposites by eliminating one aspect of a series or painting that could shift and produce various outcomes for a picture.

The figures in my work are informed through social media platforms, where often personas are invented. The figures become physically manipulated with skewed body parts to depict a protagonist or antagonist being; retelling personal experiences that reflect human relationships, procreation, death, absurdity, and isolation. The landscapes depicted in the paintings are temporal. The paintings allow for a place to exist and transform over time. Documenting the landscape as undergoing a process of evolution.

The landscapes portray natural and unnatural growths such as piles of rocks, plants, or landfills. They begin to be the represent the summation physical activity and the absence of natural evolution.

Within each painting, I begin to re-create experiences, alternative realities, and their transformation. As paintings, they find a resolution when I decide that the space is teetering between formally “working” and possibly “failing.”




2010 Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, MFA

2007 California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, BFA


Group Exhibitions


“Something Within,” Downtown Art Center Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

“Here There be Tygers,” i:23 Yokohama Triennial, Yokohama, Japan

“The Great Wrong Place,” Exchange Rates, Norte Maar, Brooklyn, NY

“MAS Attack #6,” Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA

“MAS Attack #5,” Creative Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM



“The Familiar Unfamiliar,” Wonder Valley, CA

“Push & Flow,” The Creative Art Center, Manhattan Beach, CA.

“Waxing the Bud,” Actual Size, Los Angeles, CA

“MAS Attack#1,” LA Mart, Los Angeles, CA

“Paradox Maintenance Technicians,” Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA



“20th Annual Juried Art Exhibition Modern and Contemporary Art,” Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA

“¡VIVAN LAS MUJERES! Women’s Day Festival,” Virtual display at Museum of Latin

American Art, Long Beach, CA



“Chain Letter,” Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CA



“Thanks Frank,” Stella Elkins Estate, Philadelphia PA

“Loca Motion,” MFA Thesis Exhibition, Tower Projects, Philadelphia, PA



“Festa Di Roma,” Stella Elkins Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

“MFA First Year Exhibitions,” Temple Gallery, Rome, Italy


Artist Residencies


The Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT




Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, nominee

Future Faculty Fellowship Grant, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA