María Korol was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1980 and moved to the United States in 2004. Her former education in classic and modern dance shifted to an interest in the visual arts while studying at the University of California, Irvine. She holds a Master in Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from Indiana University, Bloomington. She has shown her paintings and drawings nationally and internationally in places as far afield as Bogotá, New York, and Berlin, and has been the recipient of scholarships to the Women's Art Institute in 2015, and the Akademie der Künste in Berlin in 2016. She has taught courses in drawing, painting, two-dimensional design, and digital photography at Indiana University, Bloomington, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Concordia College, Moorhead, where she also served as the Cyrus M. Running Gallery Director. She is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia and teaches painting and digital photography at Agnes Scott College.
Photo by Tom Meyer
The main thing in making art often is letting go of your expectation and your idea.
What is seen and called the picture is what remains - an evidence. Even as one travels in painting toward a state of 'unfreedom' where only certain things can happen, unaccountably the unknown and free must appear.
My ideas begin with an image that develops fluidly. The pen travels unencumbered and there is a great deal of scratching and covering up. I have no fixed plan; I put marks down and then react to what is there. I try to surprise myself so I can hopefully surprise the viewer.
My studio is full of color chip samples that I gather from the hardware store. As I work on a painting, I use the color swatches to create palettes that guide me. The images I work on sometimes are loosely based on a sketch but most often they develop as an improvisation. I start with a general sense of what the image will be about, for example: two island shaped zones with characters behaving differently on each. Everything else starts to happen on the surface as I go, not beforehand, leaving plenty of room to contrive, add and subtract, change course. This improvisational attitude helps me keep the image fresh throughout the process. It is also a philosophical approach to making—learning to become comfortable with unpredictable outcomes, and making the best out of them is a healthy attitude to develop in the studio and in life.
My subject matter moves fluidly between representation and abstraction. At the core of my practice is a sense of duality, which is connected to the fact that I immigrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina as an adult, speak two languages, and have a life marked with a clear division between my past and my present--there and here. The themes I explore in my work are memory, imagination, and the body: how are memories and thoughts lodged in our bodies, carried around? I like to imagine and play with the idea that they occupy more than a space in our brains: maybe different parts of our body--or things outside of it--have the capacity to recall experience or spark new thoughts. I came to the United States in 2004, leaving my country with a background in classical and modern dance. My interest in the body, gesture and theatricality stems from that background. Different figures populate my ink drawings, illustrative satires dealing with memory and violence in Buenos Aires. Other works include abstractions which, in my mind, stand as signs of the invisible in us: thinking, remembering, being inventive.
I search for images that include dichotomies: depth and flatness, planes and lines, light and dark, the whole and the fragmented. I exploit these formal contradictions to create “weak” points that bring to mind those present in one’s thoughts, memories, and experiences. I think about the power of the small, the diverse, and the many: these are strategies that allow me to address my my subject from a subtle, poetic angle. Painting in this manner becomes the act of searching for beauty and lightness in the midst of experiences, thoughts, and feelings that sometimes can go awry.