Dappled, struck and colliding, Marisa Contreras Marulanda’s abstract expressionist paintings stand at the ready, shouting powerful messages. Colors break and stretch the canvas, allowing the artist’s truth to shine through.
Whether through swooping strokes or bubbling mirage, Contreras Marulanda’s works are riddled with emotion and curiosity. As someone who has lived a captivating life, Contreras Marulanda’s art practice reflects a powerful existence. An academic by trade, the artist holds a PhD in Gender Studies and Equality Politics. Her work as an academic informs her painting in that she looks to express her layered experiences as a Colombian refugee and woman who has lived in three different countries. Through her work, one can view through the artist’s lens what she has felt as a witness to three kidnappings of family members by the Colombian guerrilla, moving countries at one week’s notice, and falling in love with a German man who is now her husband.
With strong conviction regarding the rights of the marginalized, Contreras Marulanda’s work includes political messages like in Feeling Ukraine: fragmented blue and yellow rectangles splay and mingle in the center of the piece. In My Parallel Polis and Glyphosate reflect political messages of the artist-academic as well, reporting on topical issues in the world today. Contreras does not limit her artistic gifts to social causes however. She is also capable of expressing her deep sensitivity, romanticism and dreams, as seen in her pieces Passion and Dreaming Cherry Blossoms.
Contreras Marulanda lives and works in Arlington, Virginia.