Cocodrilos en aguas turbias (Crocodiles in troubled waters)

Cocodrilos en aguas turbias (Crocodiles in troubled waters)

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Object Name: 
Cocodrilos en aguas turbias (Crocodiles in troubled waters)
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 21.6 cm, W: 101.6 cm, D: 34.3 cm
On Display
Web Description: 
The painter and printmaker Isabel De Obaldía creates images reflecting the work of a long line of modern “primitive” painters—from Paul Gauguin to Diego Rivera—who explored the art of ancient and tribal cultures. Her paintings and glass sculptures incorporate symbols and ideas from ancient Panamanian, Colombian, and Costa Rican art. Colored with glass powders and engraved with raw cuts and gashes made with a large diamond saw, her large, totemic animals have a powerful, almost shamanic presence. De Obaldía’s first experiments with glass involved blown forms, but when the artist was introduced to sand casting, she focused exclusively on that technique. The first sculpture that she made was a sand-cast metate, a glass version of the traditional stone mortar used for grinding maize and other grains. Upon seeing it, De Obaldía realized that she had found a path in glass that was connected to her painting. The crocodile is a creature that lives in two worlds—above and below the water—and it is a symbol of the transition to the underworld. Cocodrilos en aguas turbias takes the form of a four-legged rectangular metate with the head of a crocodile at each end. The metate evokes images of partly submerged crocodiles swimming in a swamp, the suggestion of water reinforced by the surface bubbles in the glass. Published: Oldknow (39), pp. 58–59; and Lowery Stokes Sims and Dicey Taylor, Isabel De Obaldía: Metates, New York: Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art, 2013, pp. 28–29 and 46. For more information, see
Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art, LTD, Source
Primary Description: 
Sculpture, "Cocodrilos en aguas turbias (Crocodiles in troubled waters)". Multicolored glass; cast, sandblasted and engraved. Yellow-green glass, sandcast, with dark green, red, brown, and yellow glass powders. Sculpture in the form of a four-legged rectangular metate, a traditional native American tool for grinding corn, with the heads of two crocodiles at either end. The body of the metate is solid glass, cast so that the viewer may see inside of it. Abstract, organic designs are engraved into the glass, and applied in relief; the overall effect of the metate is that of crocodiles swimming in a swamp. Surface bubbles in the glass impart a watery effect. The engraving and applied decoration are simultaneously delicate and gestural, which is visible on the bottom of the metate (best displayed on a sheet of black plexi).
CA+D Reopening 2020
Corning Museum of Glass
2020 refresh of the Contemporary Art and Design galleries after the deinstallation of the 2019 temporary exhibition, "New Glass Now".
Isabel De Obaldia: Metates
Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art, LTD
Recent Important Acquisitions (New Glass Review 36) (2015) illustrated, p. 111 (top); BIB# AI99415
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2014 (2015) illustrated, p. 62 (#43); BIB# AI100547
Recent Acquisitions (2014) illustrated, p. 14, right; BIB# AI98357
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2014 (2014) illustrated, pp. 9, 51; BIB# 706293
Isabel De Obaldia: Metates (2013) illustrated, pp. 28-29; 46 #4; BIB# 138897