GISELA COLON (Canada, b. 1966) was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and received her BA from the University of Puerto Rico (1987) and JD from Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles (1990). Colon lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Colon is a contemporary artist working in the tradition of Minimalism and the California Light and Space, Finish Fetish movements. Colon’s oeuvre encompasses several distinct sculptural forms: Pods, Slabs, and Monoliths. The Pods are created through a unique fabrication method of blow-molding and layering various acrylic materials, producing mutable objects that appear to emanate light and color from within. The Slabs are 8-foot tall hybrid creations that amalgamate the use of acrylic technology with polished stainless steel, resulting in objects that hover between materiality and immateriality. The Monoliths are 12-foot tall vertical singular-form sculptures, engineered with aerospace technology, possessing no lines, corners, edges, or demarcations, conceived as pure form to denote clarity and aesthetic purity. The through-line in all of Colon’s work is the concept of the «mutable object;» the sculptures are created as «non-specific objects» that transmute their physical qualities through fluctuating movement, light, and time.
Colon began her career as a painter, exhibiting abstract works from 2005 to 2011. In 2012, Colon moved into sculpture, focusing on perceptual phenomena. Colon’s friendship with mentor DeWain Valentine, and the ideals and practices of Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Larry Bell, John McCracken, Doug Wheeler, amongst others, generated a conceptual shift in her work increasing her interest in issues of visual perception, and materiality, which led to the creation of her plastic sculptures body of work. Colon’s sculptural practice of generating interplay between light, perception, and lucid materiality embodies the ideals and the evolving investigations of the California Light and Space movement.
Colon also has been influenced by Minimalism, particularly the writings and work of Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Agnes Martin, amongst others. Taking a cue from Donald Judd’s notion of “specific objects,” Colon has dubbed her own works “non-specific objects” to highlight their deliberate fluid indeterminacy. The artist, who was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, also identifies the early influence of Latin American artists such as Jesus Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez on her practice. Colon’s sculptural work continues a conversation with Latin American geometric modernism and the legacy of Op Art.
Colon’s work has been the subject of solo museum presentations at The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown Ohio (2016), International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS), McAllen, Texas (2016); Castellani Art Museum, Niagara, New York (2016-2017); Museum of Arts and Sciences (MAS), Macon, Georgia (2017); San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, Texas (2017–2018); South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, South Dakota (2018); Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri (2018); Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana (2019); Foosaner Art Museum, Melbourne, Florida (2019-2020).
Colon’s work has also been presented in thematic museum exhibitions in the US and Europe at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (September 2016); the Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State University, Pennsylvania (2017), the Kunstmuseum Wilhelm-Morgner Haus, Soest, Germany (2014); the Chabot Museum, The Netherlands (2016); and the Neuer Kunstverein, Kunstlanding, Aschaffenburg, Germany (2017).
Colon’s sculpture is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; the Castellani Art Museum, Niagara, NY; the Grand Rapids Museum of Art (GRAM), Grand Rapids, MI; the Palm Springs Art Museum (PSAM), Palm Springs, CA; and the Fredrick R. Weisman Foundation.