Yolanda Sánchez   Selected Works  |  Biography  |  Selected Press

J. Johnson Gallery Biography

Yolanda Sánchez was born in Havana, Cuba and emigrated to the United States in 1960. She obtained a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1979, and has practiced and taught psychology at the graduate level for over 30 years. Prompted by a personal crisis in her mid-thirties, Yolanda decided to give voice to her creativity and returned to school, obtaining a BFA and subsequently, an MFA from Yale University in painting. While at Yale, she studied with the British painter, John Walker, who became a mentor, and with Andrew Forge and David Pease, among others. Yolanda is a Fulbright scholar, completing her fellowship as a painter in Spain after she graduated from Yale. Her Fulbright project focused on four Spanish painters: El Greco, Goya, Miró and the abstract painter, Tàpies.

Currently, Yolanda lives and works in Miami Beach, Florida. She conducts "research" in the natural landscape – largely influenced by color, texture and light - and paints in her studio. Her work is never a direct translation of what she sees, but rather is an expression of a felt experience, a memory of or desire for the experience. The paintings are also informed by a variety of sources: the physical world, literature – and particularly, poetry, dance, calligraphy and Asian art. She works with oils on both paper and canvas.

Artist Statement

My work is a gathering of my awareness of being and my experiences of moving with and living among other beings, places and things. It is my desire to become a more “finely tuned observer” and to live more in the moment. Making art for me is a way of being present in the world; it is an act of attention. And through this attention, I give back and offer praise to the world. As such, my work is celebratory, expanding, opening, and about offering pleasure.

Nature, in a very broad sense, is my source of inspiration but I am not recreating the external world. In a non-intellectual way, I am translating and projecting thoughts, emotions and sensations, into a moment of meeting, working with light, color and mark and the materiality of the paint itself. I am holding a space for the viewer – to enter, to be there, to have a moment of contemplation, and to finish the work, as it were. Subject and object are dissolved and replaced by a presence – a “presence without form.” There is no story to be told, just simply a desire to awaken.

Yolanda on her current series, 'Meditiations on the Between' :

This series of works is a reflection on the notion of “the between” - neither here nor there, neither internal nor external, but a third place, a transitional space. This third place is fluid, impermanent and changing, it leaves something unsaid and is incomplete. It is an area of play and contemplation. In these works, the relationship between the painted and the non-painted spaces, between moments of activity and stillness, is what expresses the experience. The white space is a positive presence, enhancing the power of expression and allowing the viewer room to enter and complete the vision. The work is not about language nor does it necessarily want interpretation, but aims to achieve a sensual, visual pleasure, “an intermediate area of experiencing to which inner reality and external life both contribute.” In a strange way, “the between” is the present moment.