In an enduring celebration of the beauty and power of womanhood and the world, Wendy Ortiz captures the intuition and sensuality that belies the duality of femininity and nature. Her obvious influence of the female form and figure combined with the irresistible draw of mother nature is both contrast and parallel in her painting and illustration – the fluidity and open space coupled with the stark lines and structure belies a place where the independent ego meets the collective conscious.
The thick black lines, highly influenced by cartoons from her younger days, Wendy uses to create distinct spaces that draw attention to both the individual parts as well as the beauty of the whole. The brilliance in Wendy’s work is her evocation of a perfect yet painful moment of the woman’s chrysalis; the moment of birth into womanhood, and this seemingly melancholic ode to the child, coupled with the burning, unstoppable power that arises from the emerging woman. The expressiveness of the eyes and hands, the raw emotion caught within gesture; these moments are both created and captured, unveiled and revealed to us in a way that is haunting, eternal, mythical and transcendent.
As a self-taught artist in Brea, California, Wendy developed her own unique style outside the confines of a structured curriculum, constantly exploring and pushing the limits of her imagination while maintaining the constant theme of womanhood and Mother Nature. Using the mediums of both illustration and oil paints, her curving lines create a fluidity that is both delicate and powerful. We see this in the combination of the sensual woman as mother earth – both apart of and separate; the unconscious intuitive self and the conscious self-aware being – that is evoked in the eyes, lips, gesture and position of the nude upper bodies.
Most of her work centers around the female form from shoulders and breasts upwards; the nude form – naked, vulnerable, sensual, powerful – entwined with free-flowing hair and scattered about with elements of nature – the moon, sun, galaxies and stars, bark and flowers, feathers and animals. We are forced to acknowledge the power and presence of woman; of nature; of both the beauty and pain of the unstoppable forces in both nature and woman. The closeness of femininity to nature, and the powerful forces that surge through mother nature; she is god/goddess, all encompassing, loving, compassionate, volatile; both creator and destroyer.
In Eyes Like a Flame, she is reborn. Staring straight ahead, the curvature of the moon behind her submissive to her power; her dark wavy hair weaving around the frame, spilling out, knowing no boundaries; it is a power inside her, beyond her, complete. Then there is Celestial – the woman’s melancholic expression averted and unsure, the delicacy of her hands cradled against her face and entwined in her hair; she seems overwhelmed by the mother moon, Luna, whose profile stare creates a tension between the young woman’s conscious and unconscious state. The flow of hair complete in an infinite space of galaxies – a mix of sapphire, gold, and amethyst – draw the viewer’s eye center to the place of perpetual movement, chaos, and change. The elongated curvature of the iridescent moon, which glides right in to the perfect circle, takes up the nearly the entire space; continuity in chaos; the divinely spiritual and the earthly realm of human nature. In this moment of metamorphosis, Celestial seems at the moment of dissolution of little girl into womanhood, creating an unavoidable tension of both melancholy and sorrow for the death of the child and simultaneous bursting power for the emerging butterfly; the woman; powerful, intuitive, and as vast as the infinite galaxies. The melancholic expression of the eyes, hands grasping and clutching at the self; she is exposed, aware; at the chrysalis moment where caterpillar turns to butterfly. Each work weaves a narrative; an exact moment caught and to which are gaze cannot refuse.