ARTIST BIO & STATEMENT
Aldara Ortega, a self taught photographer based in New York City, over a decade ago began experimenting with the underwater world to find an escape from urban life. Her work is a visual journey of self-discovery, freedom and pure expression of the body, mind and heart. It is the result of the transformational experience of being submerged in water, letting go and reconnecting with the raw, liberated, inner self.
Through her underwater portraits of women, she builds an intricate storyline of personal narratives offering the viewer glimpses of her personal search to honor the feminine. She invites you to intimately connect with the work and elicit feelings of strength, liberation, boldness, sensuality, and empowerment.
The spontaneity of her photography is integral and allows each muse and artist to be open to play and experimentation. The interactions are often limited in time, unique in location and with spur of the moment encounters. This, in addition to nature's power, water, weather conditions and natural light, creates the perfect environment to surprise both herself and the viewer alike.
Born in Madrid, Spain, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design from Centro Superior de Diseño de Moda, Politécnica University of Madrid. After moving to New York in 2010, she began her career as a mix media artist and painter. Her current practice is focused exclusively on underwater photography.
“Plunging into an underwater world, I allow the inherent power to take over and start to explore. Submerged, my photography brings this exploration to life focusing on the strength and beauty of feminine energy, celebrating women and their bodies. I invite the viewer to connect with me, be present in the moment, perceive things differently and appreciate light, motion and feeling. “ - Aldara Ortega
FREEDOM IN CONFINEMENT
We’re all being stretched. Pulled in different directions beyond the life defined by our comfort zones. Being asked to flow like water, which has no shape except for the container it is in. Our container, our limiting beliefs, the structures we’ve known, are all beginning to break. When we realize we are no longer held in by these, we realize we’ve always been as expansive as the infinite space around us.I am infinite. You are infinite. We are infinite.
The concept of this photo series explores the ideas of freedom in confinement. As we have all been confined to our homes during the global pandemic, we have been forced to find ways to occupy our time. As time has passed, for some it has been quick, for some it has been slow, and for others, it has stood still. No matter how time has passed for all of us, we have all become more flexible in how we perceive what time does for us, and how we express ourselves within that time frame. Within confinement, we can find what our true priorities are, who we relate to, who is close to us, who cares for us. We seek for the connections that fulfill us most, and we learn that it’s ok to let go of the connections that do not serve us. The message I want to deliver is that even within confinement, we have the space to learn to be truly happy.
In the world we currently live in, there is much fear about the unknown. Confinement has forced us to confront our biggest worries and anxieties with no chance of distraction. Facing and acknowledging those fears over and over again, makes us recognize the space where they are being harvested.
Can we stop entertaining and feeding the fear? Are we capable of not judging, opening ourselves up for new agreements where new possibilities can arise to achieve freedom.
Agua Viva, literally translates to "Water Alive". This body of work speaks to the transformation that happens underwater and how even inanimate objects, such as fabric, can harness this power and come alive. I introduced an aerial silk performer to my underwater world and began to experiment with the effects of water on the acrobatic movement of the body and fabric. The buoyancy of the water counters the gravitational pull that normally weighs down these elements, as they dance in air. In the underwater environment everything has a different weight, rate of motion, and fluidity. It is almost as if the life of the liquid is transferred to the artist and the fabrics.
Etérea is a journey that invites the viewer to observe the female energy and enjoy a magical aspect of its reality. The concept of this series focuses on connection, a deep sense of love and belonging is an intrinsic need of all humans. We are biologically, cognitively and spiritually wired to love, to be loved and belong. With trust we learn to connect to ourselves and to others. It is through those connections that meaningful and sincere exchanges occur. Miss Ortega explores the interaction of the underwater world and how freely we connect within the fluidity of its embrace. Holistika is a special spiritual place that inspires art and connectivity for effortless creativity. The photographic exhibition “Etérea” was created on its very grounds, in synchronicity of wonderful people that cross paths in this vortex, surrounded by the lush jungle. “Eteréa” is an immersive installation connected to the environment, to nature, complementing the extraordinary backdrop of Tulum’s beautiful jungle.
WHEN YOU WERE NOT LOOKING
"When You Were Not Looking" focuses on the interaction between the naked body and water. What intrigued me the most about this work, was the relationship that the subject appeared to develop with the water. In her most vulnerable state, the subject was entirely embraced by her liquid environment. There is a sense of intimacy, that is almost palpable in each piece, that speaks to a silent and secret dialogue that the body shares with the water. The viewer is left feeling almost voyeuristic, as they witness this secret exchange.