Yvonne Estrada

By Izaiia Roncallo / BURNING AMBULANCE 

Yvonne Estrada / Burning Ambulance By Izalia Roncallo


Von Lintel Gallery Blog


Yvonne Estrada: BlueBy Stepahnie Buhmann / Chelsea Now

 A Simple Nature by Lee Ann Norman / ARTslant 


Yvonne Estrada "BLUE"- Von Lintel Gallery Blog

Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions: (Catalogue)

Out of Bounds -

 The Brooklyn Rail. By Ben La Rocco

PRESENT TENSE - David Gibson 


Yvonne Estrada

By Izaiia Roncallo / BURNING AMBULANCE  

In recent years, drawing has assumed an expanded and more independent role in the art world. For a long time, drawing was seen by many as a transitional phase in the creative process, leading to the eventual production of a larger piece, for example a painting or a sculpture. But today, drawings’ subjects are not limited to figures or landscapes; in fact, it seems that contemporary drawing is fascinated with dealing with the nature or essence of drawing itself. In Yvonne Estrada’s recent works, collectively titled Blue, abstract ultramarine and cobalt forms are produced that have a painterly element to them. The painterly element of this group of images comes from the use of blue gouache and watercolor, in some cases running down the image in streaks. Multiple drawing instruments are employed—graphite, felt and ballpoint pens—while techniques like crosshatching, contour lines, circles and scribbles create dimension, tonal value and texture, features generally associated with drawing. The gestural markings are simple and layered from thick to thin lines to build up a biomorphic image. Estrada is crossing media boundaries with her combinations of painting and drawing methods.

At times, her abstract forms are organic, and may resemble a flower bud or a leaf. In a way, the images are reminiscent of cyanotypes, not only because of the strong use of blue but also because of cyanotypes’ early history as a way to depict organic specimens. For a counterexample, look at the images of Anna Atkins. Atkins’ technique makes details lessen, so the image is an outline of the flora. This is not the case with Estrada, however, whose forms are not necessarily flowers or leaves—in fact, they are complex abstract shapes with intricate detail. In an interview with Stephanie Buhmann for The Villager, Estrada explained that the blue of these works is a nod to architectural blueprints.

“I always wanted to work with architectural blueprints, as I love their powdery, purplish blue lines,” she said. “In some ways these works reflect my affinity for these documents.”

But there are no rectilinear forms to see in her work; the only evidence of a blueprint is the way all forms connect to one another on the paper, creating a cohesive shape. Still, while Estrada’s images are abstract and at times have an unfinished quality about them, there is order to the chaos, even if her shapes look randomly placed. Every spot, stain, smear or streak Estrada makes is calculated. A large work can take up to six months to a year to complete.

In one way or another, everyone has participated in the medium of drawing; still, to see the theme of nature explored in a different way is always appealing. The labor-intensive shapes of Estrada’s Blue present an intimate and personal view of nature that is much appreciated after the development of construction teams working on images together, as in the drawings emanating from Robert Longo’s studio. No matter what style of drawing the viewer may enjoy, there is something for everyone since the medium is unrestricted, and this is a reason drawing is filling up museum and gallery walls. Yvonne Estrada’s work represents just one more way that drawing is developing.




Yvonne Estrada: Blue

By Stepahnie Buhmann / Chelsea Now


& The Villager - January 12, 2012 |

New works on paper embrace ‘dominance of a specific color’  

 By STEPHANIE BUHMANN  |  Yvonne Estrada collects forms from nature. Towards the entrance of her Greenpoint, Brooklyn studio, one can find a glass vitrine, in which she stores some of her most valued objects: a bird’s nest, a rare beetle, an ancient stone flute found at shore, a bone, a piece of natural black chalk. This interest in nature’s expressiveness and its wealth of mysterious detail resonate strongly in Estrada’s work. Though not rendering specifics, her vocabulary springs from — and always channels — nature.

Estrada works from memory rather than from book illustrations or photographs (although “Gray’s Anatomy” is occasionally consulted for details about muscle and bone structure). An abstract artist, she is not interested in reproductions as a pictorial source or rendering something as realistic as possible. Along these lines, Estrada keeps her works Untitled (and numbered) to avoid directing associations. Her process is intuitive and guided by the subconscious. “I often start with stains and gestures and the work develops as a response to what happens on the page.” When looking at several of Estrada’s compositions, one recognizes a few repeating forms evocative of large petals, strings of seed-like globes or balls of rolled up hair. In the context of her oeuvre, they are familiar protagonists rather than a clear set of symbols. She explains, “Any repetition has to do with my fascination with the organic shapes that are everywhere, such as floating leaves in a tree or dried grape stems flattened by traffic on the street. My impulse has always been to synthesize the shapes that I see — but they are filtered through memory.”

 Though Estrada’s touch is delicate, her gestures can range from finely nuanced to bold. In her compositions she employs the dynamism of contrasts to maximum effect. The interplay between minute detail and broad mark-making — as well as between translucence and opacity — are at the core of each work. It is this consistent push and pull between dense clusters of information and areas of lightness that defines Estrada’s rhythm.

 In her newest works on paper, Estrada embraces the dominance of a specific color. This focus on palette in a body of work marks a departure for the artist. The show reflects this in its simple, yet poignant title “Blue.” However, the shades that this series is based on are far from arbitrary.

 “The blues I used in this group are ultramarine, which is very intense, and cobalt. They are very similar except for that the former is darker and more pigmented. I always wanted to work with architectural blueprints, as I love their powdery, purplish blue lines. In some ways these works reflect my affinity for these documents.”

 In Estrada’s hands, ultramarine and cobalt are hardly reminiscent of blues found in the landscape. Instead, they are electric — as if lit up from within by an artificial light source. However, in context with the overall composition, they aid in crystallizing the organic elements to stunning effect. By enveloping, veiling, partially covering or receding behind biomorphic shapes evocative of algae growth, cells, or nerve strings, for example, Estrada’s blues provide them with a sense of urgency.

 For “Blue,” Estrada increasingly worked with gouache, a heavily pigmented medium that dries fast. She applies the paint with fine brushes instead of broad strokes, building up many layers of lines into vibrant fields of color. “Building up multiple layers reminds me of slowly growing plant forms. In that sense my works grow organically.” She further employs ballpoint pen, pencil and graphite in her works.

 One constant in Estrada’s work is the use of large areas of white paper as a background — serving as a neutral stage, on which each mark stands out with utter clarity.

 In “Blue,” the concentration on a specific palette signifies both a thorough contemplation and a self-imposed restriction. The challenge is to seek variety through subtleties. In that regard, Estrada relates to two artists she greatly admires: Sol LeWitt and Isamu Noguchi. She as well aspires to find utmost expressiveness through the careful consideration of line in space. To her, there is elegance in simplicity.

 Estrada’s process needs time. Each large work takes about six months to a year to complete. Like a piece of music or writing, Estrada’s works have their own rhythm and story to tell. “The process is labor-intensive I can only work on one piece for so long,” she explains. “I like to work on several pieces at the same time to avoid becoming goal-oriented and obsessive. I often need to put a piece aside sometimes for weeks or even months so I can forget about it, detach and brake it open mercilessly when I return to it. It is ultimately a process of creation and destruction.”

 Estrada grew up in Bogotá, Colombia. She left for New York at nineteen and has spent most of her life in big cities. While her forms might feel like an antidote to urbanity, the complexity of her arrangements abstractly reflect the eclectic currents of a metropolitan environment. Her elements seem to be linked by an invisible web. They associate with, overlap, merge with and separate from each other ceaselessly.

 “Blue” will be Estrada’s first New York solo exhibition in almost ten years. For her personally and the world at large, it has been a tumultuous decade. Her work in all its vibrancy, careful consideration and meditative clarity, offers a place of quietude. At times her intertwined forms translate as a metaphor for the infinite possibilities of paths to take, relationships to have and roads to travel. Her work serves as a reminder that everything springs from nature and that everything is linked together.

Stephanie Buhmann



A Simple Nature by Lee Ann Norman / ARTslant


Yvonne Estrada / Von Lintel Gallery - January 12, 2012 - February 18, 2012

Yvonne Estrada crafts images in the spirit of improvisation. She creates abstractions that allude to the natural world through forms that suggest a leaf, or imply a flower bud or bulbous seed casing. She prefers to construct images from memory instead of using source material like photograghs, indicating a fondness for the imaginative and dream-like over the representational real. In “Blue,” her second solo exhibition at Von Lintel, Estrada’s singular focus shifts to the color blue in hues ranging from cobalt, ultramarine, and cerulean to indigo, azure, and turquoise. Her characteristic style of precise mark making and whimsical gesture coupled with organic shapes, patterns and forms is rooted in self-imposed restriction although she adds subtle augmentations like the metallic-violet undertones of ballpoint pen ink, smatterings of silvery graphite, and splashes of sunny yellow.

Eight of the twelve works on paper (all 2011) are large in scale (at least five feet tall) yet convey an intimacy through their otherworldliness and stylized, gestural marks. Estrada channels the spirit of Sol LeWitt and Isamu Noguchi in her pursuit of expressiveness through a kind of aesthetic ease. Line and space receive equal attention alongside the color blue to produce compositions that mimic the precision of architectural plan drawings. Through her use of brushes to make painstakingly rendered lines (she sparingly used pens and pencils) and the utilization of the paper’s white space as a neutral ground on which to anchor the images, Estrada highlights the range of expression that can be achieved with limited means, resulting in drawings that have a fluid, lyrical, and nearly amorphous appearance from a distance, but gain a density and depth that is revealed upon closer inspection.

Estrada’s use of the viscous and fast-drying medium of gouache compliments rather than belies the lithe grace of watercolor pigment, which gives her drawings an affinity with collage. Fine lines skillfully rendered with brushes allow her to build layers of color on the paper, imparting the gouache with a hearty texture that stand in contrast to dissipating graphite lines that form bands in some of the pieces and create shiny, pigment-rich forms on others. Broad brushstrokes of blue-grey or turquoise watercolor pigments form the background for some images while creating fragments that recall the imprinted pattern of cloth on others. Using nature as inspiration and understated source, Estrada creates a fantastic and exhilarating world through meditations on the beauty of simplicity.

~Lee Ann Norman



Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions:


Kerrigan Campbell Art + Projects

Theresa Chong - Yvonne Estrada - Eva Lee - Henry Mandell

July 23- September 3, 2004 - Curated by Lisa Hatchadoorian

The abstract drawings of Theresa Chong, Yvonne Estrada, Eva Lee, and Henry Mandell refer to a history of abstraction, gesture, and mark making embedded within the recent tradition of art. At the same time, their nuanced, and layered works visually weave in concepts of science, such as entropy and chaos, which are predicated on change, disorder, and unpredictability. All four artists create drawings of complex systems displaying structures and patterns that mimic the irregularities found in nature. Their artwork also captures the inherent and simple beauty of undulating lines, points, marks, and symbols that are tools employed to chart a visual and theoretical course through space in both science and art.

The most recent series of drawings by Theresa Chong utilize aspects of the handmade and the mechanical to conceptualize an area that is both vast and minute. On an inky blue-black or white sheet of wispy rice paper, Chong maps a course through the picture plane made up entirely of gently swooping lines and dots that cluster and break apart according to their own internal logic and structure. Chong doodles and visualizes her abstract gestures on the computer and then transfers the mechanized marks by hand onto the rich, texturized rice paper field. Visually, her drawings present an all-over expanse that can be likened to clusters of starry matter in space. Artistically, her pared down gestures unfold and loop back on themselves, taking the eye with it. Scientifically, her deft use of line conjures up concepts of chaos theory where order masquerades as disorder and spontaneous change is constant.

The intimate, and humorous drawings of Yvonne Estrada present an interconnected and slightly surreal world that consists of various abstract and stylized gestures, combined with floating biological forms, calligraphic motifs, and repetitive decorative marks. Estrada mingles these different types of marks and gestures in layered, poetic compositions that expand and release the markings from their original meaning as inscriptions on a flat field. She creates a quasi-scientific/artistic hybrid space where the placement and aesthetic use of her lexicon of symbols yields unpredictable results and amusing juxtapositions of form and meaning.

Eva Lee, like Theresa Chong, creates her abstract drawings with the most basic of marks: connective dots and lines. Her creative process though, takes place entirely on the plane of the paper. The artist courts chance and an unpredictable nature in her work, as she is never sure what the final outcome will be from her minute starting points. Lee generates an abstract conception of space that is malleable, fluid, constantly moving and turning on its own axis. Akin to Yvonne Estrada, Lee also recycles a group of standard forms in the shapes of circles, gourds, and biomorphous organisms that populate her deep, endless semi-cosmic space.

The undulating, repetitive, and layered abstractions of Henry Mandell are created solely on a computer from sentences of text that refer to weather in its endlessly unpredictable patterns. Playing and toying with minute variations in line and letter placement, his drawings disguise any legibility or inherent meaning from the words themselves. Language is broken down and built up as pure form in an endless lyrical sequencing. His treatment of text treads a boundary between the deterministic loops and curlicues of our own handwriting and thought process to the mechanistic patterns and chance uncertainties that occur within the computer as various systems play themselves out in the same space over time.

Lisa Hatchaddorian


Out of Bounds 

 The Brooklyn Rail. By Ben La Rocco

Wave Hill
Glyndor House
May 2005

At sunset in the Bronx in the gardens of Wave Hill, the light slants through the open windows and doors at Glyndor House. From inside, the smell of fruit trees in bloom seems to press in from all directions. This makes for tough competition for the nine artists in Out of Bounds, a group exhibition that explores landscape through mural work framed by the pronounced molding of Glyndor’s Georgian Revival interior. Georgian Revival favors regular geometry, and the artists are forced to fill a challenging void between the architecture within and the landscape without.

In Glyndor’s southernmost room, Amy Yoes is well seen in evening light.  Her red wrought-iron forms are painted with a free hand brought to heel to edge several of the ceiling’s supports. These structures reveal themselves to be her point of departure. They seem to provide the impetus for Yoes’s cleanly brushed forms, crystalline on the white walls. But the joke is on you because Yoes made the supports too. In the next room, Lucas Monaco looks chunky by comparison. His drawings are literally chunks of bird’s-eye views of the Bronx painted on canvas framed by molding. The drawings are exquisitely rendered in black, sienna, and green on a white void. Their delicacy is threatened by ripples in the canvas that are visible beneath the gallery lights.

In the hall, Jeffrey Gibson rendered organic forms with a rigger’s line. On a dioxazine-glazed ground, Gibson highlights winding roots, a fitting form for a stairwell.  He finishes by adhering agglomerations of plastic crystals and purple goop—a touch of kitsch for an otherwise kitsch-free installation. Down the hall, in the vestibule, is Amy Chan, adding a touch of humor to an otherwise serious exhibition. She paints little bits of suburbia on floating islands. The Wal-Marts and Holiday Inns are unabashedly pedestrian and a bit of an awkward affront to Glyndor’s refined architecture. Chan’s work accommodates itself neither in form nor in placement. This is in opposition to Geraldine Lau’s cut vinyl installation, which deftly climbs the second stairwell. Computer executed, it has the unnerving feel of military imaging despite its pop colors.

In the next room Hilda Shen’s seaside collage is rough at the edges but snug within the molding—an admirable restraint for an apparently process-driven artist. She makes a charmingly disjunctive pair with the succinct Ulrike Heydenreich. Heydenreich makes panoramic drawings with a machine she built that looks like a cross between a wheelbarrow and a miniature watch tower. From the center of this well-built contraption the artist is able to make 360-degree drawings.

Vargas-Suarez Universal follows with a densely patterned room in greens and blacks. It’s a loud piece in the context of the exhibition and has an Art Deco feel due to its even pairing of curves and straight edges. It’s as though he were trying gently to urbanize the nature without.

Next is Yvonne Estrada. Her wintry installation is the most labor-intensive of the group. It’s composed like a painting, not schematized like a mural. It must have demanded constant attention to composition in execution and provides intricate imagery at all viewing distances. You could cut it up, thought I wouldn’t, and make dozens of small works. The wide breadth of its delicate forms—curved lattices, spirals, tendrils, and much more—seems to have grown from describing a sphere. This consistent logic gives the piece unity, while the strenuous labor that accompanied its creation gives it a vibrancy that makes one wonder if, had she been given the time, Estrada would have filled all of Glyndor.

Ben La Rocco


PRESENT TENSE - David Gibson 

 Available Potential Enterprise / Northampton, MA. 11/3/09

We don’t like to think that such differences exist, but artistic expression can be characterized by exceptions in gender. Both women and men have separate but equal agendas, temperaments, and as a consequence of this, their formal and esthetic results may widely differ. This is certainly the case in the exhibition “Present Tense” which brings together the work of Yvonne Estrada, Sean Greene, Clint Jukkala, Barbara Neulinger—four painters who each exemplify a divergent strain in contemporary currents of abstraction. Taken individually, the fusion of four unique talents would be enough reason to warrant attention—even fascination—with the attempts and achievements each makes into the formal ground of painterly abstraction. Yet as gender based pairs, and as practitioners of divergent inspiration, they each add to our understanding of what painting can mean for us.


The men in the show are involved with bright colors and hard edges, while the women are involved with gesture and depth of field. Sean Greene’s paintings are a compelling amalgam of gestural forms, but as they will appear in the future. Greene claims to be inspired by the signatures of graffiti and the fractured, though presumably articulate and soaring movement of skateboarding. They take on a gracefulness that they do not possess in life, unless the ardent practitioner strongly resembles the dedication of a talented musician or dancer. They are the shadows of past gestures choreographed for the use of future generations.


Clint Jukkula’s paintings intrinsically evoke the kind of resplendent environment dramatized within early versions of video games, epitomized by the film “Tron” (seeing a remake this year), with their given visual complexity, and the distance they possess from the landscapes of everyday life. Even when they break down, seeming to melt on the screen, it is not unlike the event of paint running too thinly on a canvas. Given the rugged materiality of Jukkula’s work, this shows the work’s relationship to its exterior environment, how paint may look like pixels but is still an organic medium relative to the human condition.


Barbara Neulinger’s forms are inspired from seaman’s knots, the type which any young boy completing for achievement badges in the Boy Scots would be required to prove proficiency. Such knots are a system of order, but also they inhabit a world of chance, of gesture, and of the intimations of design. They represent exactly the sort of real-world problem solving which is often at home in the hands of an artist. To solve the visual appearance of such knots, to place its squarely within the language of painting, is to understand how they exist in everyday life, in history, and in the life of the mind.


Yvonne Estrada deals with the expression of helixes, which are used in mathematics to explore the dynamic of quantum events, such as those in weather or the swirling forms of cosmic narrative beyond the comprehension of imagination despite appearing to resemble forms as the artist would naturally depict. Her work is primarily improvisational, having been generated from a simple calligraphic gesture, but this also connects it to a source of knowledge, as well as to stylistic determinations. Her works include both minute forms that preclude the use of large areas of negative space, and right at the tangent where automatism is wed to discipline, immediacy and detachment.


The words in the title of this exhibition are both succinct and deft. Each artist’s oeuvre is intensely displayed, suggesting the vicissitudes of temperament, talent, and cooperation with divergent trends in pictorial abstraction. Yet they also deliver a tension between their formal destinations which are not shared either across gender lines. The more time one spends in their company, the more they will all make their points clear.