"Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror or the painter?"
Ileana Rincón-Cañas was born in Venezuela in 1975. She studied Advertising and Marketing in her country of origin and later completed a master’s degree in 3D Animation in Madrid, Spain. For more than a decade, she has lived in South Florida, in the United States, and has worked as a motion graphic designer and as a 3D artist for television and different audiovisual media. Her work has participated in more than 20 collective exhibitions in the United States, Mexico, Spain, and France.
Since she was a child, even without being aware that she would later dedicate herself professionally to artistic creation, "she was always drawing everywhere, even the walls of her house". Also, she has shared with her father the ability to create and appreciate the image and visual communication, since he was fond of photography and was involved in theory and practice for many years of his life. Ileana until today, treasures some of these objects that he used, such as books, cameras and camera lenses that still work.
Among her mentors and tutors, Ileana highlights Gisela Volá and Margarita García -both Argentine visual artists-, Katherine Chacón -Venezuelan researcher, curator, and art critic- and Nelson Garrido -Venezuelan photographer-. She acknowledges that her husband, who is a photographer and director, has also been a fundamental pillar in the development of her artistic activity -which has been even more intense and dedicated in the last 5 years-. Also, her two sons, who tenderly provide her with logistical and operational support when photographing.
Usually, in Ileana's creative process, ideas appear spontaneously during sleepless nights, she takes notes, then meditates, investigates, sketches, projects how to put together the staging and carries them out. Unlike traditional photographers, Rincón-Cañas stages her ideas and after the click, she dedicates to post-production, which is fundamental to her language. This is why she defines herself as a creator of images, as she combines and complements in post-production -with expertise and thoroughness- the technical and expressive possibilities of photography and painting. The aesthetics of her work fuses the photographic image with visual textures similar to those of pictorial brushstrokes and is also characterized by a vibrant color palette in which blues, greens and oranges predominate.
The artist recognizes a powerful artistic influence from painters such as Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Giorgio de Chirico, and René Magritte, not only for their color palettes, but also for their narratives. In that sense, her work has a dreamlike, magical, and fantastic atmosphere, because as she describes: "My photographs are an inverted reality and a reverse of logic that doesn’t come from my dreams as in surrealism, but rather is born in my imagination”.
In her unique intimate and/or natural landscapes, she introduces symbols and allegorical characters, including recurrent figures such as clouds, birds, wild animals, and mirrors. The mirror as a magical, complex, and central symbol to her discourse, could perhaps be interpreted as self-perception, introspection, intimacy; as a conceptualization of her own identity, from her perspective not only as a human, woman, mother, but also as a migrant, since she has lived in various cities around the world (Caracas, New York, Madrid, Miami). She photographs herself, in parts, fragmented, multiplied, taking different postures and positions, as part of various scenarios and situations. She places herself “in dreamlike, unreal, pictorial, and timeless universes, addressing issues that obsess her (…). Spaces she wishes we could live in, where her secrets float out in the open".
The self-portrait "for her is not only autobiographical in nature". That is to say, although she portrays herself and her proposal problematizes personal and intimate issues, it transcends her individuality. Her work suggests profoundly human and collective considerations that run through her and through us all. It also reflects on social and environmental issues: self-esteem, sadness, fears, overcoming, freedom of conscience, creation, affections, the invisibility of women, plastic pollution, and the environment.