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Elsa Muñoz

I am an oil painter who works in series. Common subjects in my work are seascapes, forests, fires, tornados, the night, and figurative subjects who typically evade the viewer’s gaze. I am interested in the potential for psychological and symbolic associations in each of these subjects. Natural elements become narrative devices I use to contend with larger themes such as beauty, power/powerlessness, the unconscious, fear, death and rebirth.

My choice of subject matter is directly influenced by my cultural identity and experience growing up on the south side of Chicago, daughter to working class Mexican immigrants. The threat of gang violence kept me indoors for most of my childhood and adolescence. Then, violence inside our home made me ultimately retreat into myself. My aesthetic was largely born out of two things: first, an early awareness of my powerlessness and isolation and secondly, being offered an alternative narrative through encountering poetry. I believe it is this tension that is at the heart of much of my imagery.

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