Art is the most sincere expression of the social and cultural character of a region. In Costa Rica, art has been always a reflection of the land. From the pre-Columbian art, where the indigenous people expressed their pictorial essence mainly in pieces of small format reflecting their relationship with nature as well as their spiritual beliefs, to the last created contemporary piece or photography. That is the artistic way of capturing an instant in time.
The whole essence of the country has been captured in this way by storing the graphic history of the individuals and families portrayed, the natural environment, the towns, the buildings, the coffee plantations, the trades, the amusements, the tragic events and the civic celebrations. Photographs marked a collective feeling of belonging to a national community, with its geography, its people, and its heroes.
Women artists in history
Historically, women were relegated, forced to go unnoticed. Great creators, scientists, writers, philosophers, have been hidden from the great triumphs of humanity, and it is a very recent struggle in the historical context to return the merit and fame to These great women. Already in the 20th century, the public presence of women in different fields was recognized as a result of feminist struggles for their rights, in the artistic field there were many women belonging to vanguards who made history.
In the 21st century, women are finally protagonists in equal conditions in this wonderful universe that is art. Women have been great spokespersons for Costa Rican culture and art, powerful women with a strong and majestic vision of the world and the reality that we all live.
Women in the Costa Rican pictorial arts
Margaret Bertheau Odio. Born in San José, Costa Rica, in 1913. She was a forerunner of the hard avant-garde of Costa Rica, considered the mother of Costa Rican watercolor. She made an extensive work in favor of the artistic and cultural development of the country. Along with Francisco Amighetti, she was one of the initiators of muralist art in Costa Rica. In addition, she made important contributions to musical activities and the national ballet.
Margarita Bertheau art was impregnated with great beauty and color, with great freedom in the line and a chiaroscuro of strong contrasts. She especially ventured into the landscape but also produced portraits, nudes, and various compositions. The handling of light as an expressive element was essential. It was inspired by themes of dance class, ballet, and the human body.
Lola Fernández Caballero. Born in 1926, she is a Colombian-Costa Rican painter. She studied painting at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Costa Rica. She is specialized in oil and fresco at the National University of Bogotá. She studied postgraduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and traveled throughout Europe, Morocco, and the Middle East. In 1961, UNESCO granted her a study tour through Japan, India, China, and Indochina. Since 1959 she was a professor at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Costa Rica until she retired.
She is currently considered one of the most prominent personalities of Costa Rican painting, with international prestige. Her painting is characterized by a perfect balance and a studied balance of shapes and colors that passes from the subtle to the violent but contained and measured, and a great cleanliness.
Women as photographers
There are 2 women born in the 20th century that serve as inspiration when talking about the art of Costa Rican photography. With international renown and a great trajectory, they reflect the world through their camera, each with their own and particular style.
Sussy Vargas Alvarado. Born in San José, Costa Rica in 1967, she started her activity in Art and Research since 1996. She won many awards; most recently the Carmen Naranjo Scholarship for Literary Arts with Carolina Goodfellow for the publication of her Project: Popular Costa Rican Graphic.
Participant in a large number of exhibitions and individual and collective exhibitions of art and photography, adding to this trajectory her participation in important research such as the History of Photography in Costa Rica 1847-2000, together with Ileana Alvarado and Efraim Hernández; Part I: “Photography: the other historical archive, its alternative techniques, conservation and experimentation”, with Adela Marín and Ana Muñoz.
Karla Solano. This contemporary photographer in Costa Rica has reaped important results since she took her first steps in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MADC), in the mid-nineties of the previous century. Her name and work appeared in books like “Spirit of a Collection” 1996, with his photomontages “I am Tú” (1995), and “Walking the Life” (1995), in the exhibition “The body In / Of Photography (1998).
By appreciating her most recent photographic projects, and trying to immerse us in her death, she activates the question about the meaning of an experience of a metaphorical nature between the body and the architectural space.