Joya / Eva Mantell


‘My art begins at the meeting point between the environment and my thinking. I will be working on a handmade book for the library at Cortijada Los Gázquez of drawings about the point of encounter with natural remnants that might include leaves, bark, fallen branches, twigs and stones.

My art begins with materials that I have a direct contact with. When I worked and lived in New York City I was obsessed with finding the natural or biomorphic in the city streets. I have lived in a town bordering farmlands and preserved woods now for eight years, with trees, grass, wild areas around me, and I find myself obsessed with finding structure, civilization and points of connection. As the city streets reminded me of leaves, it seems the leaves now remind me of city streets.


I think about how we should live, where we should live and how we should proceed on this planet. I think about how these questions affect my world, my family and my children. My thinking goes into my art, and takes a physical form as grappling, tearing, opening.  I work from what is left behind. Man-made, discarded things like coffee cups and magazines, as well as natural materials like leaves. Both are remnants, both decay, both lie on the ground taking their time as they are transformed.  The leaves decay to feed the next generation — there is life and activity in their decomposition. The man-made does not decay to nourish anything, and in fact it disturbs and pollutes, and makes things worse in its falling apart. Both the man-made and the natural have a back-story to them. I’ve come to see the leaves as ready-mades that have their own kind of emotional weight and cultural resonance.

The process in my recent drawings is simple enough, graphite rubbed across the paper with the leaf underneath it. I make adjustments to the leaves, to the way I hold the graphite, and to the way I approach the paper. The results relate to topography, invented, as the lines map possibilities. I don’t make the lines, they are there for me. Veins and stems that come to seem like compass needles that spin in ways that lead as well as mislead. The marks may coalesce to points of connection, structure, building. When I am finished with the drawings I return the leaves to the ground’.




Attachments: Eva Mantell, 4 drawings, 2010, graphite and litho crayon on paper, leaf rubbings. approx 10″ x 14″  For more information, please visit