Maria Teresa Ortiz-Naretto | Goddesses Series

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About Maria Teresa Ortiz-Naretto

Maria Teresa Ortiz Naretto was born in Rancagua, Chile, and soon after raised between Argentina and Chile. She is currently based in New Jersey. Conserving the last names of her parents, Ortiz-Naretto praises her intriguing multicultural background that led the artist to immerse in drawing and painting, art history, and philosophy studies. These perspectives determine her paintings with profuse impasto, flat surfaces, and vivid colors, a style that far from being eclectic results in unique images of nature, myths, human figures, and portraits.

Hello Maria Teresa. When or how have you understood you wanted to become an artist?

I discovered I wanted to become an artist when I was nine years old and painted my first oil canvas. However, I changed my desired life many times. I earned my undergraduate in art history at the University of Buenos Aires, and one in philosophy at Rutgers University. Even though I studied art since I was very young, I kept it quiet because I believed I wasn’t good enough. Before my Rutgers graduation, I couldn’t breathe longer until I grabbed a pencil to draw. Since then, I haven’t stopped drawing, painting, and showing my artwork around.

Maria Teresa Ortiz Naretto
Goddesses Series – Sophia Loren

Can you briefly say something about your technique and tell us what drives you to make art?

I mainly paint cold wax and oil on canvas. I apply the matter with palette knives because I create textures and movement with each stroke. In the end, the painting is a surface of colorful bas-relief.

 I never let the yellow base dry completely. Then, on fresh areas of the surface, I mix cold wax and oil with the yellow base. It creates a fascinating surface in which I show control of colors and materials.

What drives me to make art is my self-discovery. I am looking at myself in each painting. Each artwork is a mirror of my inner desires and research. I believe that Paul Eluard describes this feeling wel when he says that the artist and his work are a mirror of each other.

What is the main feature that has changed in your works or practice throughout the years?

I have earned self-confidence and better knowledge of my technique. My artworks show my style as portraits, landscapes, or human figures. I see that as my great accomplishment.

Which artist primarily inspires your work? And is there something else, outside visual arts, that keeps you motivated?

Many artists have inspired me for different reasons. The shallow surface and profuse matter come from Dubuffet, mainly the painting “Apartment Houses, Paris.” The depiction of the painting comes from the Italian masters, from Michelangelo, Raphael, Parmigianino, and many others to whom I have drawn and studied. The carnations come from Lucien Freud and Jenny Saville. 

Finally, my technique comes from the Fayum mummy portraits.

My children and my daily life keep me motivated.

Maria Teresa Ortiz NarettoMaria Teresa Ortiz Naretto
Goddesses Series – Kathrine Hepburn

How would you like people to engage with your work?

I wish people to ask questions about themselves, their stories, and my own. I dream that viewers discover something singular after they look at my artwork.

Maria Teresa Ortiz NarettoMaria Teresa Ortiz Naretto
Goddesses Series – Marylin Monroe

Spread the word! Do you have anything exciting on the horizon?

I am creating a series dedicated to women actresses of the 1910s with my Goddesses Series. Many of these women have been forgotten. I wish to show that their heritage is part of the cinematographic history and the women’s stories. 

The series is still in its process, but you can view it here.

Check Maria Teresa’s website here or follow her on Instagram here. 



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