Detail of Maria Rendón's Light Years Ahead (2018), from her "11 Paintings 2018" series

profile / alumni / illustration
June 17, 2019
Written by: Mike Winder
Images Courtesy of the Artist


“I make paintings insinuating animal and human forms that appear and disappear in the landscape,” says Illustration alumna and former faculty Maria Rendón (BFA 92), whose paintings explore themes of transformation, hybridity and ritualistic experience. “Never with a predisposed image in mind, but through the collaboration with water and paint.”

Rendon’s works have been shown at many venues, including the Art, Design and Architecture Museum (AD&A) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which presented her exhibition ALTER in 2014; the Atkinson Gallery at Santa Barbara City College, which presented her exhibition Missing Rib in 2015; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara (MCASB), which commissioned her site-specific installation Snow Man (nothing that is not there and the nothing that is) for its 2016 exhibition Shift, Stretch, Expand: Everyday Transformations.

Alumna Maria Rendón (BFA 02 Illustration)
Alumna Maria Rendón (BFA 02 Illustration)

“The subject matter in my work varies and often times it is informed by my being a migrant,” says the Mexico City native, who adds that she’s also fascinated by the concept of the imaginary. “Whether it be the line that delineates our borders, or the perception of the unimagined as seen through new materials or technologies.”

In addition to being inspired by the space between reality and perception, her work also draws from the concept of ‘liminality,’ an anthropological term denoting the state of a participant in a ritual who has not yet transitioned into what they will become. “It’s that feeling of not being here nor there,” she says.

Rendón’s most recent work is a series of 11 paintings made with rain water, tap water and holy water. “I am intrigued by how not telling the whole story, working from memory and avoiding the literal can generate new realities, hybrids of existing forms and, for me, transformation of environment and sense of self,” she says.