Liliana Guzmán is a photographer and painter whose artwork entwines topics of the body, memory, sexuality, and the hidden landscapes of the self. Born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in Indiana, Liliana completed her BA at Earlham College with a double concentration in Photography and French and Francophone Studies. Throughout high school and college she traveled abroad to Mexico, Ecuador, and France studying language and studio art. In May of 2021 Liliana completed her MFA in Photography at the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design at Indiana University Bloomington.
Her photographic practice incorporates a wide range of techniques and mediums from film photography and alternative processes to digital photography, painting, and drawing. Through the recurring subject matter of hands, touch and gesture, Liliana’s artwork expresses touch as not only a formative and intimate experience but as one that establishes both internal and external connections within ourselves and those around us.
Most recently she has exhibited at the Soho Photo Gallery, the Indianapolis Art Center and Manifest Gallery where she was a finalist for the Manifest Grand Jury Prize for 15th exhibition season. Her series Next to Myself was included in the 2021 Lenscratch Student Prize: 26 to Watch and will be exhibited in her first solo exhibition at the Amalie Rothschild Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland in May of 2022.
Extending from within the body and outward, Next to Myself combines painting and photography to reflect upon the formation of the self as an individual with social and ethnic components. Photographic elements ground the body in a concrete physical space while paint emphasizes what the mind perceives. Stemming from my background as a bicultural Colombian-American woman, this series addresses the sociocultural dualities of my exposure to different conceptions of the Latinx female body. In private family spaces as well as in religious social environments such as church or school, the body is either celebrated or restricted. The manifestation of cultural and personal dualities is one of the main threads expressed throughout this artwork.
Each piece is a culmination of layers; the photographic print, gouache paint, charcoal, and other mark-making objects. The meaning and influence of touch and emotional performance (masks) are both prominent in my artwork. The use of the mask obscures the face and acts as a mechanism to compel the viewer to identify with the woman. The yellow circles are derived from the religious iconography of the halo, which is meant to signify light, divinity, and a distinct separation between the holy and the laymen and women. Next to Myself emphasizes how ethnicity, gender, and memory continuously build upon the many layers that make up who you are.
Release Date: July 15, 2022
Niña con alas or Girl with Wings, was one of the later pieces made from Next to Myself that combined many smaller photo-paintings. One in particular is seen in the middle left of the composition where there are two green masked figures crouching in which one has pink feathery wings. The idea of wings symbolizes a desire for clarity and signifies a part of yourself that is more rebellious and active. The central figure in the white transparent dress and veil has wings but is still reaching up towards a pair of hands in order to escape the chaotic scene she finds herself in. When you think about what it might look like inside of your own mind or inside of the mind of someone else, I imagine it to be a space of tangled emotions, memories, things that are hidden and revealed, gestures and actions all mixed together.
Niña con alas, 2021
Release Date: March 17, 2023
Growing up, I attended Catholic school in a small town in Indiana from age 10 to age 18. Being one of the only Latinx students and feeling neither completely American or completely Colombian, I felt a push and pull between these two facets of my identity. In this piece, titled Quinceañera, I envision interactions between both my younger “Catholic American self” and “Latina self”.
The two figures in blue and red collared shirts and khaki pants reference my middle school uniform, while the figures in white collared shirts reference the color we had to wear in ninth grade. Clothing and its colors and patterns play a specific role in signifying a period in my life and a part of myself; like a costume you wear as a pious Catholic student or a feminine Latina. This also calls upon the expectations and restrictions of the female body, how a woman is supposed to look, or act, or feel a certain way regarding her ethnicity, gender and sexuality. In the upper right hand we see a figure in a pink dress which references my quinceañera (a special coming of age celebration that takes place on a girl’s 15 birthday common in Latin America). Along with other clothing details, the dress is specifically modeled off of the dress I wore at my own quinceañera. Throughout the series Next to Myself I visualize these layers, and how my perception of my own body and identity has been shaped through these experiences in my life.