Carmen Argote

Mi Tierra Artist Carmen Argote

Argote's Installation Is on View through Oct. 22, 2017

Carmen Argote is one of the 13 artists whose work is on view in Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place. When Argote first visited our museum, she was struck by the proliferation of nearby multiuse spaces and live/work condominiums or rentals. She lives and works in an open space in Los Angeles. A metal articulated wall separates her studio from her personal living area to create a functional space that in many ways has the allure of the new construction she encountered in Denver. Both sides of Argote’s divider wall are feathered with layers of paperwork, family photos, invitations, drawings made by her young relatives, and artwork by Argote and her friends, as well as various correspondence.

Below is an excerpt of an interview with Argote, which will appear in the catalog that accompanies the exhibition:

A zig zag screenlike structure called Live Work by Carmen Argote
Carmen Argote, Live/Work, 2016. Mixed media, paper, and metal screen. © Carmen Argote

"For Live/Work I installed the zigzag screen-like structure that I have used to divide my living space from my workspace for the last eight years. Taken out of its functional context (my studio and home) and placed in a gallery context, this structure reflects the way that art shapes and transforms the notion of home and how “lived place” becomes creative space in my personal life.

Live/Work is a map, it’s a portrait, it’s a functional object, it’s a sculpture and it’s a divider but not a divider. I like things not to land in one category because it’s in their changes that they become really interesting. When you can’t easily point to it and name what it is, when it fluctuates as you try to define it, then it opens up the opportunity to see things differently. That’s something I’m drawn to: things that flip, that switch as you’re looking at them. That’s where the art is. It’s not inherently tied to the object but it’s in that flip in your perception where the meaning is derived."

Carleen Brice is content manager in the marketing department at the Denver Art Museum. Carleen has been at the DAM since 2013. Her favorite painting in Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze is called Lean.