Sculptural Pursuit


A Powerful Petite Presence

ANA ULATE, my contemporary among the four sculptors, is a petite energetic woman who earned her degree in art at the age of sixty. Content in her role as a wife and mother, she raised five children and felt blessed to see her sons and daughters successful as professional men and women. She was looking forward to relaxing with her husband in the next phase of their lives when he died unexpectedly. Missing him dearly, Ana spent some months in depression until she realized it was time to move on and develop a new life. She said, "With the encouragement of my children, I applied and was accepted into the university and, in the year 2000 I received my degree as an artist specializing in sculpture. I also have spent four years in La Casa Del Artista creating sculptures. This has been a really important time for my growth as an artist. I have now been a sculptor for six years." She laughed and added, "My children still support my art: for Mother's Day I get tools and rocks. I love those gifts. Also, my daughter helps me with my shows."

As a young child, Ulate never wasted a monument when she could draw in school. She remembers drawing during free time and playing with clay that she usually found in the street. Today, she will start her sculpture projects by first drawing out an idea, then processing the form in clay, and finally creating the project in wood, stone, bronze, resin, or concrete. She said, "My approach to every project is to be spontaneous and passionate. I live and grow all of my sculptures in my mind before taking the concept to the material. My goal is to make every art piece convey a feeling, a message."

Ulate's work has transformed over the past six years. Early works were of a realistic style. Today her sculptures are abstract explorations. Some of her works are figurative expressions in various materials. She will combine several types of carved stone, attaching contrasting pieces together such as in APSARA, a combination of basalt and marble. Other sculptures are created from organic shaped material, perhaps a piece of driftwood. An example is Ulate's wood sculpture ZEUZ Y NINFAS, created in cedar from which she releases small figures out of the wood's surface, allowing them to remain as an integral part of the wood's form.


 At the university, Ulate was drawn to stone. Her favorites are basalt, marble, and dureta. She started out with large pieces of material, and now she usually works small to medium pieces. She said, "My lines and movements have changed also, but I still mix them, using curved and textured forms along with smooth concave shapes."


When asked about challenges she deals with as a woman sculptor starting at this point in her life, she said, "I do believe that my biggest challenge as a mature artist was to begin a career, compared to much younger artists who start their careers with more new and innovative ideas; in my country it is hard to find an emerging artist of my age”. Several of the other women sculptors see Ulate as a role model. Her energy and drive encourage them to know they can have long careers ahead. Ulate's work has been exhibited in several of her country's sculpture biennials and a large number of exhibitions. At the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006, within a four month period, she participated in a two wood symposia creating life size sculptures, displayed her works in several exhibitions, and created a private commission of a medium size figure in granite.

Ulate finds that it is hard to sell art. She said, "People usually do not appreciate the work it takes to create a sculpture and they do not like to pay what each piece is really worth. That is why we are taking the art to the streets, putting on symposia in the parks and out of town in our provinces. The public can see and, perhaps, come to appreciate the work it takes to create a job in stone or wood." Ulate had not previously worked with art galleries. She said, "I was lucky that a firm of lawyers bought ten of my sculptures to put in their building.

Then their clients began to contact me to buy my sculptures and now I have five pieces sold to clients in other countries." During my last visit with Ana Ulate, she reached up to give me a hug and then said with great excitement. "I am enrolling in a class to learn English so we can have a dialog when you visit again. I live and grow all of my sculptures in my mind before taking the concept to the material. My goal is to make every art piece convey a feeling, a message."