Explore the Textures & Patterns of the Grand Canyon in New Multimedia Exhibition at SOPAC
Through 46 intimate works, artist Marité Vidales captures the complexities and beauty of one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.

Imagine holding the vastness of the 277-mile Grand Canyon in your hand. That is precisely what internationally renowned artist Marité Vidales has achieved in her exhibition, REVEALED: Intimate Renderings of the Grand Canyon, on display from March 10-May 1 in The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC.

In May 2021, Vidales spent several days on the southern rim of Grand Canyon National Park observing the colors, textures and patterns of the landscape. After being awestruck by the immensity of the canyon, and upon picking up a piece of pine bark, she realized that the patterns on the inside of the bark emulate the topography of the canyon.

“The canyon’s natural beauty is right there on the back of the bark,” says Vidales. “It’s as if the trees have sketched the canyon for only themselves to see. All I need to do is to remember and paint.”

Each of the 46 intimate and paradoxical works, some as small as 6 inches, are painted pine barks set in tonal shadow frames, activating questions about landscape, environment and her own media.

By rendering her memories and impressions of the national park on painted barks, Vidales creates a dialogue between the natural patterns found inside pieces of bark and the vistas of the Grand Canyon.

“I was immediately entranced by the complexity of the layers, the use of colors and textures to convey the contours and the sheer beauty of each piece,” says Jeremy Moss, curator of The Herb & Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC.

Vidales is a Costa Rican-born Washington, D.C.-based painter with a career that spans over 30 years. She received her BFA from the School of Fine Arts at the Universidad de Costa Rica in 1987 and completed Graphic Design studies at the Universidad de Centro America in 1983. She has exhibited widely in the United States, Germany, Peru and Costa Rica. She maintains an active studio practice in the Shaw neighborhood in Washington, DC and teaches art at two non-profit senior centers in the city. Her painting styles range from figuration to geometric abstraction. She develops thematic series of work based on her life experiences and social concerns.

The opening reception for REVEALED: Intimate Renderings of the Grand Canyon will be held in the Iris Gallery on Thursday, March 10 from 5-8PM and is the kick-off to an entire evening of interrelated events as SOPAC honors Women’s History Month. Following the opening reception, SOPAC is hosting an inspiring performance by the Resistance Revival Chorus at 7:30PM. As an added bonus, prior to the concert, ticket holders are invited to a panel discussion with community leaders at 6:30PM about the role of music and women’s voices in activism.

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About The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery:
The gallery was initiated by beloved SOPAC board member, Milly Iris. Both Milly and her husband Herb were longtime supporters of SOPAC, avid collectors and devoted arts advocates. The family legacy continues through the generous support of Herb and Milly’s daughters, Roreé and Kerry and The Iris Family Foundation. The gallery is located on the second and third floors of the South Orange Performing Arts Center. The Gallery is free and open from Monday-Saturday, noon– 6PM.