LENA BARTULA is an artist, writer, curator, gallerist, storyteller, and transplant from the U.S. A recycle artist whose main medium is textile, she has lived and worked in Mexico since 2004. Inspired by the Mesoamerican dress known as a huipil, Bartula stitches and collages imaginary garments and fabric constructions. Reclaimed textiles, found objects, and gifted collections, all vestiges of their former lives, coalesce to transform chaos into beauty. Her commitment to social consciousness and environmental awarenessis woven into all the pieces she creates.
While living in Santa Fe, Bartula was a painter, using text and image to convey messages in oil, acrylic, monotype and collage. Director of Guadalupe Fine Art Santa Fe during the 90s, she divided her time between making art and representing 12 artists. In 2003, she switched to cloth and paper, painting, collaging, and stitching her stories. Moving to Mexico transformed her worldview and altered her mediums as well. Now her studio practice revolves around reclaimed textiles and found objects, transforming them into imaginary garments and fabric collage inspired by the traditions of diverse cultures.
Her art has been shown in museums and galleries, in more than 80 exhibitions, and is found in collections in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Holland, Mexico and U.K. She moved to Mexico in 2004, and since 2008 has resided in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. In 2017, Bartula opened La Huipilista Artspace, a place where artists, workshops, salons, readings and every kind of artful event can take place. She believes in “All Art, All the Time,” and thus, she lives, works and exhibits there, where she is the artist in (her own) residence.
In my studio practice, I push myself to go deeply into the unknown. It involves unpacking collections of salvaged materials, found objects, donated fabrics, to see what can be created from chaos. I’m committed to reusing, revisioning, remembering that there is always enough, I already have everything I need. This is a major shift. In years past, I contemplated my concept or theme before beginning a piece. That was my former modus operandi, and so it’s both challenging and enlightening to not be in charge. What it teaches me is that if I allow the materials to speak, my real work is to listen. Silence prevails as I wait for information.
Turning to the scrap heap before me, I create textile constructions that I hope reflect our shared experience of chaos, uncertainty, and constant shifts. A sense of wonder presents itself as I begin choosing materials that might not be seen as complementary, stitching them together in a way that I hope might make beauty out of chaos. This everyday ritual began in earnest as the pandemic began to besiege our world. Taking up a needle and thread, I endeavor to transform fear with fabric, and anxiety with artfulness. The solemnity in the studio bears witness to the sacred, the secular, and the spirit of art itself, as I reweave the social fabric of our world. Meditating on this as a goal, my mind gets quiet while my hands and needle go to work.
BORN: Ft. Worth, TX, USA, 1946
Painting: Martha Eagle, Oil, 1974-75, Okla. City, OK Maria de la Jeune, Oil, 1977-79, Okla. City, OK David Leffel, Life drawing, 1982, Okla. City, OK Arnie Anderson, 1980, Watercolor, CSU, Edmond, OK. Printmaking: Ron Pokrasso, monoprint, 1993, Santa Fe, NM Manuel Rodrigues, Bellas Artes, 2007, San Miguel de Allende, MX Gilberto Guerrero Sanchez, Bellas Artes, 2007, San Miguel, MX Dreamwork: Ann Yeomans, MA LPCC, 1994-96 Galisteo, NM Writing: Joan Logghe, 2002, Santa Fe, NM Barbara Rockman, 2003, Santa Fe, NM Hollis Walker, 2001-02, Santa Fe, NM Bookarts: Carol Tyroler, 2003, SFCC, Santa Fe, NM
2021 MATERIAL MEDITATIONS, Galeria Intersección, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, Mx.
2019 HUIPILES, MannMade Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mx.
2017 CUENTOS COSIDOS, Casa de La Enseñaza, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mx.
2016 HILOS, El Nigromante Bellas Artes, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, Mx
2014 HUIPILES CONTEMPORANEOS, Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, Antigua, Guatemala
HUIPILES CONTEMPORANEOS, Museo Ixchel, Guatemala HUIPILES CONTEMPORANEOS, Casa de Cultura Andres Henestrosa, Oaxaca, Oax
2013 COMO AGUA DE MAYO, Galeria6, Mineral de Pozos, Gto,MX THE HUIPIL; A REVISIONING, Happenings Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Gto
2010 WELCOME, Magenta Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Gto,MX
2009 MENSAJES GUARDADOS, Galeria6, Mineral de Pozos, Gto,MX ENIGMAS, Sol y Luna Contemporary, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.MX
2008 LA NOCHE VERDE, Sol y Luna Contemporary, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX SILENCIO Y OTROS SUENOS, El Museo de la Ciudad, Queretaro, Qro, MX
2007 EL SILENCIO, El Museo Indumentaria, el Claustro de Sor Juana,MX, FROM HERE TO THERE, Carole’s Design Studio, Knoxville, TN, US THE COLOR OF WORDS, Sol y Luna Galeria, Puerto Vallarta, Jal., MX
2006 TALKING PICTURES, Teatro Santa Ana, San Miguel de Allende,Gto, MX VISIONS AND VARIATIONS, A Muse Gallery, Columbus, Ohio, US ADELANTE!, Galeria Magnol, Punta Mita, Nayarit, MX
2005 SPANISH LESSONS, Lena Bartula Studio Gallery, Mineral de Pozos, Gto,MX
2004 AMBOS LADOS, Galeria Izamal, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, MX FULL CIRCLE, Crossroads Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
2003 SEGNI DI LUCE, Circolo Filologico, Milanese Milan, IT LA MEZCLA POETICA, Buchanan Gallery, Galveston, Texas, US
2002 LA MEZCLA POETICA, Guadalupe Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US THE AIR BETWEEN NOTES, Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, US
2001 JOURNEY, Guadalupe Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US MEMOIRES D'UN FUTUR VOYAGE, Charite Ste.Eutrope, Gordes, Provence, FR
2000 CEREMONY, Guadalupe Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1999 ANAMNESIS, Guadalupe Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1998 BETWEEN THE LINES, Guadalupe Fine Art ,Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1997 EARTH AND SPIRIT, Guadalupe Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1996 DREAMS AND VISIONS, Off the Wall, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1995 LEFTOVER DREAMS, Harry's Roadhouse, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1994 RECENT PAINTINGS, Cafe Romana, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1993 WOMAN STORIES, Amuze Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS:
2023 Rostros de Los Migrantes, Casa Europea, San Miguel de Allende, Gto.
La Locura del Plastico, Museo del Naval, Cartagena, CO
2021 México Textil Centro, Museo de Arte Popular, CDMX, MX
2019 Plastic Madness, curated by Glen Rogers, Casa Europa, San Miguel de Allende, Gto.
2018, México Textil, Museo del Arte Popular, CDMX, MX
Take A Chair, curated by Alberto Lenz, La Huipilista Artspace, San Miguel de Allende, Gto.
2017, Gendercide Awareness Project, Fashion Industry Gallery, Dallas, Tx. US
2016, Armoniaás en Oposición, con Alberto Lenz, Berlin Bar, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, MX
Art As Catalyst, Moving Beyond Capitalism Conferenece, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, MX
2013, Alma de Carton, Museo la Esquina, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, MX
Art and Soles, Marilo Carral Espacio, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, MX
2011, Parallel Journeys, 2-person, Arte y Diseno, Mineral de Pozos, Gto, MX
2010, NOW Revolución, Galeria 6, Mineral de Pozos, Gto, MX
Summer Season Inauguration, Galeria Casa Diana, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, MX Arte en San Miguell II, Galeria Pergola, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, MX
2009, Rompiendo el Cristal, colectivo de imagina2009, Pinto Gallery, Instituto Allende, San Miguel, Gto Illumine, 2-person show, the TORSOS series, Arthaus66, Albuquerque, NM, US Fibras de la Vida 3-person show, Galeria 6, Mineral de Pozos, Gto, MX
2008, Con Amore, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sol y Luna Contemporary, Puerto Vallarta,Jal.,MX Gran Venta de Grabados, Bellas Artes, San Miguel de Allende, Gto, MX International Artists, A Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH, US
2007, Corazon, El Palacio Legislativo, Xalapa, Veracruz, MX Miniatures, A Muse Gallery, Columbus, Ohio, US Recent Works, 2-person show, A Muse Gallery Columbus, Ohio, US
2006, A Celebration of Light, Galeria Sol y Luna, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
2005, Celebrando el Dia Internacional de la Mujer, Museo Gene Byron, Marfil, Gto, MX
2004, Insight Out, Curator:Mary Bennett, Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US Santa Fe/San Diego Joint Exhibition, San Diego, CA & Santa Fe, NM, US
2003, Mark My Words; Text in Visual Art, Magnifico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, US See-Worthy; Boats and Vessels, UNM Gallery ,Marquette, Michigan, US
2002, Word, Text and Story, Sangre de Cristo Art Ctr., Pueblo, Colorado, US
The Poetry of Women, A Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH, US Mail Art, Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA, US Point and Counterpoint, Bosque Gallery, Corrales, NM, US
2001, Spirited Wanderings: santa fe art at the threshold, Marquette, MI, US
2000, The Cup Show, Segreto Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US Landscapes, Canyon Road Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1999, The Cup Show, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1998, Monothon 12, Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US Voices and Visions, Santa Fe and Las Cruces,NM, US A Show With Heart, Robins-Hyder, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1997, Madonna, The Modern Matriarch, Karan Ruhlen, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US A Celebration of Trees, State Capitol, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US Ladies of the Night, Guadalupe Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
1996, Nuestra Senora II; Traditional Visions, Govr's Gallery, Santa Fe New Mexico, US Death and Transformation, Guadalupe Fine Art, Santa Fe New Mexico, US Earthbound Madonna, Zaplin-Lampert, Santa Fe New Mexico, US
1995, Nuestra Senora, Copeland Rutherford, Santa Fe New Mexico, US Night Visions;Women & Their Dreams, HahnRoss ,Santa Fe, New Mexico, US El Mundo Del Arte, Palacio del Gobierno, Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX,
1993, Visions of Excellence, Fine Arts Gallery, Albuquerque New Mexico, US
Wild Woman Invitational,"The Opening Scene, Taos New Mexico, US