A Fragile Balance

An art installation by Micaela Vivero, artist and professor.

“We have such a fragile balance with our environment,” says Studio Art Associate Professor Micaela Vivero, who explores this balance in much of her work as an artist.

Her most recent exhibition, based in Rota, Spain, is the result of a month-long artist residency in the oceanside city. In it, Vivero investigates color, walking, and how they both inform the way we feel in space and how we perceive it. She was further influenced by the ubiquitous presence of the tides.

Vivero compares walking to contour drawing — instead of using a pen to trace an outline on paper, “your feet mark the ground you’ve covered, creating an outline of your journey through space.”

This semester Vivero is teaching two courses, Introduction to Sculpture and Senior Practicum, although she has also taught Mixed Media Sculpture, Fiber Art, Installation and Site-specific Art, and Performance Art.

“If you are doing art all the time, you are better equipped to help others doing the same thing, give hands-on experience, and serve as a role model for students.”

A practicing artist since 1999, Vivero prefers to perform installation artwork, which she describes as “a larger piece of something in a space.” She is inspired by intersecting with new places, and at an early age decided to make travel a part of her life, going abroad to the United States and parts of Europe after completing her undergraduate degree in Studio Art at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. Since then, Vivero has been an artist-in-residence in several countries and continents. She has exhibited her work in Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, the USA, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, France, Austria and Armenia.

While travel is an inspiration, Vivero reminds us there are always new things to be discovered in the familiar. “When you aren’t able to move around as often, you begin to think about how to look at things differently.” Although her latest artist residency was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this sentiment is especially relevant given the current climate, where shelter-in-place orders and remote meetings have become commonplace. When so much has been put on hold, how can you look at the familiar in a different way?

On being an active artist and a professor at the same time, Vivero says “I think it is important to help students navigate struggles. If you are doing art all the time, you are better equipped to help others doing the same thing, give hands-on experience, and serve as a role model for students.”

December 3, 2020