Sculptural Pursuit



Emerging Visions
IN 2003, TERE AGÜERO graduated from the National University of Costa Rica, earning a bachelor's degree in art with an emphasis in sculpture and a bachelor's in art education. As an upcoming sculptor Agüero uses a combination of abstraction and the human figure as her artistic language. She considers her work to be in its early stages. Knowing what she wants to express conceptually, she is still in the process of exploring new materials.
Agüero feels the experience and the search have given maturity to her work and she always strives to do her best, aiming for quality. She enjoys expressing herself through the mixture of materials, such as mixing wood with marble or metal, glass with terra-cotta or stone with resin. She said, "I also want to show different finishes and textures in the surfaces of the materials, keeping some in their natural state and showing others as completely polished areas, also texturing with different tools or with acids or fire, as in the case of wood."

 Agüero describes her early experiences with art: "My first encounter with art was as a young girl. I grew up in a beautiful town in a valley surrounded by mountains and nature, far from the noise of the city. The natural forms that surrounded me always woke up my restlessness and my imagination. When I walked from my grandparents' nearby house into the surroundings, there was a mountain on the way that had mud on the slopes; my cousins and I gathered and prepared it with water to play with and to make figures. I remember that I was the only one who saved some of the mud to play with at my house later. I took thorns out of a lemon tree and used them like a tool to make the details of my mud figures. I lived in a wood house that had a corridor that seemed immense to me as a child; in the afternoons, my sister and I would lay there on the floor for hours, drawing a big world of fantasy where there lived sirens, fairies, and princesses.

"When I was in kindergarten, I was introduced to clay, and with it I used my best efforts and made a little bird in its nest; it was beautiful. I hid it, taking it home to show it to my parents. They were very happy. The sad thing is that I left the little bird in the kitchen near the stove and it melted.
"My life has always been in contact with artistic expression; in school I was the "girl of the drawings." Among time, I realized that I had a special talent and later in school, I began to make statues in slate, chalks, and crayons using a cuter-like tool. Later on, a teacher motivated me to make the decision to study art at the university."

 During Agüero's formative time at the university, she worked on several sculpture projects and participated in art exhibits including the National Biennial of Sculpture II of Costa Rica. Her professor, sculptor Aquiles Jiménez, taught her a variety of sculpture techniques that included wood and stone carving, modeling, Installations and resins. He also gave her the incentive to show her work which led her to participate in two National Sculpture Symposiums, important events in which she could not only present her work but could also represent women in a world traditionally dominated by men. Her goal is to exhibit her sculpture in at least three shows per year. She also would like to have the opportunity to travel to foreign countries and participate in an art exhibition or symposium on the international level. Another of her goals, is to earn an scholarship in order to expand her knowledge and learn new trends in sculpture techniques.

Agüero's favorite materials are stones such us basalt, marble, tobita, andesite, and wood material such as pochote, cedar, and cenizaro. She said. "I also use different types of sands, coal, water, and metal, elements that I use to give unity and variety to the composition. "A job of a reclining male figure is powerful in its presentation of varied materials. The sculpture is a relief carving of the figure spread over five squares of wood, with each square mounted on a corner tip and each angled a bit more going from head to feet. The back side the first two squares show the face and arms of the figure. The squares are mounted on a metal pedestal filled with coarse black sand, creating a striking composition of the warm reddish brown wood against the black material.

A second job, METAMORFOSIS. consists of three carved stone cylinders sanded to a matte finish, with the exception of an evolving polished figure on each one. The cylinders are mounted on a raw black stone mounted on metal rods to stand several feet high. Agüero's jobs show her inventiveness with materials and subject matter. Her works exhibit an evolving mastery in fusing the two, as well as in effectively combining one or more materials in a cohesive manner. Her challenges are universal. She said. "The first challenge is the social and economic position that the artists occupy in our country, this being that it is difficult to make a living from the production and sale of art. The artistic process is accompanied by limitations, from the difficulty in having a studio and being unable to acquire important tools for the performance of the profession. In my case I have had to choose to work as professor of art to be able to maintain myself economically and to follow my desire to make sculpture. This is another limitation for me, the sacrifice of a great part of my time that I would rather dedicate exclusively to sculpture."

Regarding the commercial aspect of art, Agüero feels, "Most artists produce more art pieces than we can sell. We depend on a gallery that will be willing to show our works or a representative who can sell them. There is no guarantee that the sale of fine jobs is going to be frequent. That is why many artists consider it to be more profitable to produce more commercial or decorative works for a smaller cost, even though this often limits their freedom of expression. At this time I work with the gallery that is located in The Artists Refuge. I do not have a representative, but I am working on a catalogue of my fine art pieces to present to other galleries at my country. Currently, I am sculpting jobs in wood in a medium format, where I use a streamlined  form of the feminine figure. I'm seeking to express the intimacy and the sensuality of the human being. I want to express the pleasure of loneliness, the desire to be free of that which drowns us, and to take refuge in that which consoles and protects us. I desire for my work to transmit feelings so that the viewers can identify themselves with the works, when contemplating them. Inevitably, the characteristics of my personality and my experience in life are reflected on them. I enjoy being in contact with the materials, to have them in my hands, and to feel that I give them life."