Tie me to the Universe
By Harriet Zinnes
With so little time, so much energy, and so much work to do, Ana Mendieta–an artist who was born in l948 in Havana, Cuba, on November 18, 1948 and who died in l985–devoted herself entirely to art. To her, as her friend Mariana Gaston has said, "art was a biologic need … her way to save her soul." Mendieta was influenced by the writings of the Mexican poet Octavio Paz, and his impression is evident when she speaks: "I have been carrying on a dialogue between the landscape and the female body (based on my own silhouette). I believe this to be a direct result of my having been torn away from my homeland during my adolescence. I am overwhelmed by the feeling of having been cast from the womb (nature). My art is the way I reestablish the bonds that tie me to the universe."
Her art, therefore, frequently binds together her body and the landscape to show equivalence between the living and the dead, a desire that is prevalent in Mexican society. Imogen de Yagul of l973, a lushly painted work that is the beginning of her Silueta Series, exemplifies this act.