2021 Artist

Dionis Ortiz

My work comes from the truth to show people of all shades of black, from all corners of the world, their beauty by reflecting back their own images and environments. I create my work out of the everyday to focus on the positive and spiritual aspects of my community.

Biography

Dionis Ortiz is a multimedia artist, community art producer, and educator who works in printmaking, collage, and sculpture. Drawing from his experiences as a child born and raised in Harlem of Dominican descent, he creates geometric, process-based works from ill-regarded and found materials to celebrate the people of the African diaspora.

He was a participant in the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) Program at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, received a Rema Hort Mann Artist Community Engagement Grant, and has been an Artist in Residence at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. He has produced several solo exhibitions in New York and his work was recently included in Estamos bien: La Trienal 20/21 at El Museo Del Barrio (New York).

Community engagement is central to his practice and he has produced projects for Harlem River Park Fund, Museum of Art and Design, and ImageNation.

This year, he is in residence at Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling and his mural design was selected by PubliColor for an elementary school in East Harlem. His work has been featured in The New York Times several times and is included in Latinx Art: Artists, Market, and Politics by Arlene Dávila.

This community work extends to teaching and Ortiz teaches all ages from pre-K to teenagers and undergraduates at Hunter College

He received his B.F.A from SUNY Purchase College and his M.F.A from CUNY Hunter College.

Artist Statement

I work in collage, printmaking, and other media in order to celebrate the aesthetics of Afro Carribean diasporic communities and create empathy across people of color. I draw from my own experiences growing up as a Dominican-American child in Harlem, where I found joy in the coming together of black and brown people at block parties.

The work is process-oriented, making use of everyday items that are transformed into complex, layered compositions. I reuse objects that are discarded or ill-regarded, such as linoleum tile and cardboard, and elevate them. Inspired by David Hammons, I find meaning through the usage of shapes and conform my materials to geometric patterns.

We are shaped by our environment and I use the materiality of the Caribbean and urban landscapes to build the works. This inventiveness was also part of my childhood and I bring these domestic and community elements into artworks like artist Pepón Osorio. The ‘skin’ of the work is formed by elements from the environment like brick buildings, concrete sidewalks, and the ensuing gentrification and erasure.

The double consciousness that is part of this black experience is embodied in the work by combining Western practices and traditions with materials, narratives, and figures from the diaspora. One of the lingering and most insidious effects of colonialism is self-doubt and a devaluing of self. My work comes from the truth to show people of all shades of black, from all corners of the world, their beauty by reflecting back their own images and environments. I create my work out of the everyday to focus on the positive and spiritual aspects of my community.

www.dionisortiz.com

Instagram: @Dionis_O_Studio

Artist Gallery