Esteban Cabeza de Baca

Region: MFA Annual


City / State: New York, NY

I make observational paintings of my dreams and what I see around me. Sleep coupled with reality produces beautiful yet irrational imagery. The only way I can interpret these experiences is by painting. My paintings are dream journals. These journals are increasingly loose and gestural. I conceive my work in one sitting, like an action painting. When I attain a certain resonance with a 1-foot-square painting, I blow it up to 6 by 6 feet, without using a projector. The justification for scale enhancement is simply to have my field of vision consumed by the painting.

Plein air painting in the United States began as a colonial-era method. I’m interested in turning this approach, once used to validate Manifest Destiny, against itself. My paintings are charged with indigenous iconography once tramped on by colonization. My hope is that by painting the past and present, I will illuminate my audience’s future in the U.S. In re-evaluating space and time, I want to expand our perception of reality.