“No te alcanzan los ojos” Interview with Aineki Angelita Traverso

Published August 4th 2023
By Blair LeBlanc

The world is what we make of it. Aineki Traverso’s work gives voice to corners of identity and memory often rendered mute by inattention. It’s not that our perception of the world around us is inaccurate, but that there’s an even deeper view available if we are willing to look beyond what our eyes tell us. In her solo exhibition, “No te alcanzan los ojos” at whitespace (June 23 – August 5) Traverso considers a way to describe beauty that transcends sight.

Traverso is an Atlanta based visual artist and painter. Before locating painting as her medium of choice, she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2013 with a concentration in film theory. Melding forms that push in and out of focus, an introspective philosophy, personal history, and dark opulent color, Traverso’s practice longs to exist in the presence of forever.

AT: “I paint everyday. I knew I had the show at whitespace in January right before I went to Vermont Studio Center for residency there. I had to make a cohesive body of work. I also wanted to allow myself to just not have the pressure of it. Which ended up being pretty easy because I paint everyday and I’m just going at it all the time. I had to just do as much as I could and let it come to me."

Traverso credits her residency as an integral part in building the foundation for her exhibition.

AT: "The work for the show began to happen when I was up in Vermont, I went looking for a motif. I really wanted to have a repeating pattern in my paintings. So, I started painting this ring. Like this loop.”

Her daily practice began to follow this idea on smaller works on paper. Which then opened the door for the principal piece of the exhibition, This Will Happen Also To Me, 2023.

AT: “On my last day I had this moment where I thought I need to make this a big painting. I had made all these small abstract works but I felt like it needed to happen on a larger scale. And then that painting happened very quickly. It happened in about two hours. I was in my studio at three in the morning and I stayed up until five painting. So, it was a little bit of a mad rush. That just kind of happened all at once.”

Although Traverso grew up around art, it wasn’t until she went to school for film that she came back to painting.

AT: “I grew up in the art world because my mom is a painter. I had art books laying around. And I grew up going to openings in DC. But, I also watched so many movies when I was younger.”

The forms of her compositions stem from these selected visual references, from film stills to images of family, in “No te alcanzan los ojos” the artist hones in on this murky space to explore the intersections between her personal history and the threshold of experience itself.

You can follow @aaineki on Instagram for updates and announcements from her studio. Traverso’s next exhibition, opens in April 2024 at Swan Coach House Gallery as part of her Forward Arts Foundation Edge Award.

Aineki Traverso (b. 1991) is a visual artist and painter currently based in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2013 with a concentration in film theory. She has exhibited in spaces such as Whitespace Gallery (Atlanta, GA), Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Greenville, SC), and Swivel Gallery (Brooklyn, NY). She has attended residencies at Vermont Studio Center, The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, and Volatile House. Aineki was recently named the 2024 recipient of the Edge Award from the Forward Arts Foundation.