Yvonne C. Espinoza

When we are Family 1 & 2

Each piece: repurposed costume jewelry, textile, dried moss on burlap.
10” x 10”

“Reducing economic diversity may be efficient, but it also reduces resilience.”

“….as regions specialize, there is an overall loss of local diversity in jobs.” -Richard Heinberg

Do our avocados, T-shirts, mobile phones, and even sneakers come at the expense of another’s safety, freedom, and life?

Our parents came to the US as a way to partake of the “American Dream”. This was a vision spread throughout our world.

Family, health, security, freedom, and the promise of success are possible.

Hope for a beautiful outcome is still at the edges of every act and word we release.

We pick up after those who have forgotten that freedom, in the long run, is about working together. Living together is about experiencing humanity in all its diversity. It is a rallying cry to move beyond societal mono-culture.

In the biological world, groups of organisms create change. Each organism, some slightly different, provides the ability to provide the evolutionary adaptation to move forward.

In my work, an array of old and new, synthetic and natural, collected here and manufactured far away, are used to piece together “living” beings and communities.
  • Yvonne C. Espinoza

The Company We Keep

Metal, costume jewelry, salt, ice, plant matter, glass Petri dishes
12" diameter

Every day, the different types of lives connected in our systemic world are affected by our (human) actions.

In this year-end blizzard, as I was considering the effects of flash freezing on our wildlife, plants, and microbes (and on humans), I observed my patch of Austrian winter peas that act as both a cover crop for the soil, and as a snack for a variety of creatures living in the piles of brush. Along the edges of the icy road are plants tolerating our human need for salted streets.

And like our animal, plant, or microbial neighbors, our lives are thoroughly enmeshed with theirs. However, some of these worlds are safer than others.

Our smallest decisions affect each other’s lives and the entire system of life on our magnificent planet. As daunting as that may seem, working together with our human and non-human neighbors will enable us to develop an ongoing resilience through changes, disruptions, and upheavals.

And maybe, just perhaps, we can know what it means truly to be a good neighbor.

“Resilience building usually tries to maintain the basic function and structure of a given system in the face of disruption. But transformational efforts are purposefully disruptive to the system, changing some of its functions and structures so that it can build resilience in ways more suited to a new reality that’s simply non-negotiable.”
-Richard Heinberg
  • Yvonne C. Espinoza

What Melts Away

We are always collaborating on our shared future.

We can choose to move forward, fully conscious and educated about our actions or remain unconscious about our actions and keep the rose-colored glasses.

What we know is that energy, ecological, economic, and equity issues need to be addressed relatively quickly.

How we adapt from our daily, high expenditure of resources to something currently more realistic is the hurdle. Weaning ourselves from our energy expectations built on past habits can create opportunities in other areas.

What is possible is finding deep connections with each other and our non-human neighbors for the long-term health of our planetary existence.

In my work, I consider today, energy is more at the forefront of our cultural makeup. It becomes as important as my appreciation for flora, fauna, and family traditions. My past emerges with a different context and focus.

What Melts Away 1 Encaustic, repurposed costume jewelry, fabric, wood, leaves, pine needles, light bulb core 6” x 6” x 2”

What Melts Away 2 Encaustic, repurposed costume jewelry, fabric, wood, leaves, pine needles, light bulb core 6” x 6” x 2”
  • Yvonne C. Espinoza

Artifice, Artifact, and Actualization

Part of the Material Evolutions series.
(Work in progress)
Repurposed textile, jewelry, wire, on stretched canvas.
22"H x 18"W

In ecology, resilience is seen as the ability of a system to absorb disturbance and retain its basic function and structure. In other words, a resilient system can adapt to change without losing the qualities that define what it is and what it does—which together comprise that system’s “identity.” Resilience boils down to an ability to adapt to both short-term disruption and long-term change while retaining the system’s essential identity. Building resilience starts with decisions about what we value about a system. Concepts like the adaptive cycle and panarchy further aid our understanding of resilience in systems.”
– Richard Heinberg

My work takes a systems thinking approach to defining boundaries and imagines a snapshot of complex adaptive cycles working within a panarchy of “biological” beings made up of human-conceived “DNA” material.

In this work I am studying the identity of communities, the ecotone, and levels of activity within each community. The ongoing evolution of each community is unknown, but dependent on how each community has dealt with diversity and redundancy.
  • Yvonne C. Espinoza

Both/And (for Quinn)

Part of the Material Evolutions series. Repurposed costume jewelry and textiles on canvas.22”H x 18”W

Is the human super-power the ability to create the unnatural? The non-integrated or creation without consideration.

The artworld is always touching upon this topic of creation, sometimes with great consideration and other times (seemingly) not.

As artists, we have the ability to have a foot in two worlds. With one we create and build and with the other that is already in existence, we interact with our fellow world inhabitants. It isn’t always about the dichotomy: technology vs nature, man vs beast, civilization vs wilderness, modern vs ancient, etc.

There is that beautiful sweet spot that we can credit to artists and creatives. It's a place where old wisdom, that has been cultivated from understanding the earth as a “partner”, gives rise to an appreciation for our earthly resources and their limitations.

Perhaps, it can even serve as the interwoven guiding principle toward a long-term appreciation of the world we leave for our children. A deeper legacy. And perhaps, a deeper love.

We artists humans can create beautiful things that nature did not. But, nature, long the staple spark of creative contemplation, give us the tools.
  • Yvonne C. Espinoza

A Soil Waltz: Stirring Camaraderie, Compassion, and Change

Repurposed textile, jewelry, beads, and glass and shells on stretched canvas.
24”H x 30”W (unframed)

“As a species, we tend to move away from the unattractive and difficult path. This is where art, in all forms, is able to travel. We journey with the characters in great works of literature, we dance to the layered beats of drums and the strums of bass riffs, we see the ability of original art transform our perspectives of reality. Within each “newness” we take the risk to read, listen, view, move or think from a different angle.

This is the realm where I am working. The place where there is the perpetual battle, the ever-building of communities, the influences of cultures (microbial and otherwise), and the hybridization, mutation, decimation, and creation of something different. There is a raw truth that can be frightening.
What also exists is the utter beauty the awe embodies. There is a battle and there is a dance.”
  • Yvonne C. Espinoza

From the Material Evolutions series

Repurposed costume jewelry and fabric on stretched canvas
6" x 6"

In the biological world, the edges of ecosystems where one system meets another are called an ecotone. It’s the place where things evolve, adapt, collide, or interact. It’s the place where all the “action” happens. The activity at the boundaries (and their various states of permeability) is where the inputs, outputs, feedback all occur. Systems are inside us. We are part of our own systems. Our systems share edges. All of our systems are part of larger systems. How do fences make good neighbors? Read more about the Material Evolutions series here.
  • Yvonne C. Espinoza

Meditations: Emergence

A series of six 6" x 6” pieces Hand-rolled paper beads,seed pods, wood, stone, shells on gessoed, cradled board.

What happens when our ordinary expectations collapse? This series is about resilience. It is about the place at the edge, an ecotone, the area that may fail or evolve to survive when met with new variables.
In my exploration, I am considering botanical formations and the “evolutionary” trajectory they take when encountering unexpected interactions.
In this case, they are meeting with social unrest, a global viral spread, and the Spring season. What emerges?
  • Yvonne C. Espinoza

Join The List

Want to hear from us occasionally? Subscribe to our newsletter

Join The List

Want to hear from us occasionally? Subscribe to our newsletter