Creativity Explored
3245 16th Street (at Guerrero Street)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 863-2108
info@creativityexplored.org
Creativity Explored

Bertha Otoya

Bertha Otoya (b. 1979, Peru), after moving to the United States, started working in the Creativity Explored studio in 2007. Originally focused on textile work, Otoya used traditional Peruvian techniques to create tapestries and quilts. She enjoyed the repetitive process of sewing.

In 2009, her practice grew exponentially as her focus shifted to printmaking. Stripping her color palette to black and white (occasionally red and blue), her print work has achieved an iconic status and is avidly collected by patrons. Otoya often begins on a white ground by painstakingly appropriating, then recopying, writing from a variety of source texts, mostly written in English, not her native language. Through this meticulous repetition of writing, the resulting text becomes a collage of prose that warrants close inspection if the hidden meaning between her chance juxtapositions is to be revealed. Layered over the text is an array of fabulous (and sometimes terrifying) beasts and figures whose solidity and careful rendering add an anchoring counterpoint to the ephemeral, shifting text beneath.

Otoya uses this same technique to create scrolls. With a combination of hand lettering and block prints, the scrolls reach lengths beyond forty feet and are housed in wooden boxes adorned by the artist. The influence of her printmaking is now evident in her traditional drawing work where repeated images of fish and snakes are layered over washes of color or given alternating shades on their appendages. Otoya’s work is at once aesthetic and conceptual, operating on many levels simultaneously, never settling or remaining static, constantly vibrating between meaning and feeling.

Otoya’s work has been exhibited nationally and included in numerous prominent exhibitions. In 2011, Otoya was featured in Create, a traveling exhibition curated by Lawrence Rinder that originated at University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; Faces at Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco, CA; and 4 Real 4 Faux Animating the Vernacular, at Truman State University Art Gallery, Kirksville, MO. In 2010, Otoya was featured in Visions of Paradise, at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma, CA; Text’o & Figura, at Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, CA; and Prints Byte: the cutting edge of printmaking, at SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA. 

 

Print Bio

Samples of Otoya's work





Selected Exhibitions

2017
Black White, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA

2015
Here, There and Everywhere, Sheffer Gallery, Sydney, Australia
Tree of Life, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA

2014
Shoerageous, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA
INK, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA
A Curious Menagerie, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA

2011
Faces, Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Create, University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA
4 Real 4 Faux Animating the Vernacular, Truman State University Art Gallery, Kirksville, MO

2010
Visions of Paradise, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma, CA
Prints Byte: the cutting edge of printmaking, SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA
Santos y Otros Creatures, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA

2009
Words, Verses and Garabatos, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Introductions, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA
TV and Me, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA