Isabel Cuenca was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when she was 15. Arriving in Los Angeles, she stayed with her family as well as with her aunt, uncle, and four cousins in a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. The space constantly felt cramped, you couldn’t go to the bathroom at night without stepping on someone—and despite the limited space, there were parties with yet more uncles, aunts, cousins, and family friends. Eventually she moved to Houston, Texas into a house where the floor didn’t vibrate from the music of the neighbors downstairs and she had her own room, a second bathroom, and a dog of her own.

Moving to a new country has influenced her work. Her paintings are the product of the transformation of the definition of “home.” Constructing and deconstructing compositions of interior and exterior space as well as the environment that surrounds it has been the center of her work. Details of memories are as fluid as the time that passes: time affecting structures; affecting aesthetics. The manipulation process of collaging and folding images mimics disengagement from the physical world. Space, whether they are domestic or industrial, has become synonymous to a formula: loss and stagnation equal to decay; much like the memory of a country she was born in and the one she resides in now.

October 2015 feature with Isabel Cuenca and Matt Manalo