Marianna Trinidad Olague

A painter who is never without her 35mm camera, Marianna Trinidad Olague is a 2020 Artist in Residence, whose time at Chinati was postponed until this year. She uses the camera to frame what she ultimately aims to depict: her everyday life as if viewed by an outsider.

Olague brought a set of familiar images from her home in El Paso to develop into paintings and drawings in her Marfa studio. A shrine on the trail to the top of Mount Cristo Rey—where a monumental figure of Christ is visible across the vast borderplex of El Paso–Ciudad Juárez—was the larger of two canvases. A work on paper shows the entrance to her mother’s childhood home, laced in shadow. Strong light and metal bars connect all of the works, which were unfinished but, given the assiduousness of Olague’s technique, highly resolved by the end of her residency. Not immediately evident is the computer’s role in the process of digitally working through many of the moves she makes in the studio. While in residence, she also took plenty of photographs around Marfa, some of which may be realized in future studios as new works.

Marianna Trinidad Olague (born 1990 in El Paso, Texas; lives in El Paso) received her MFA in painting at Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BA in drawing at the University of Texas at El Paso. She was an artist in residence at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, in 2019. Olague is one of the featured alumni in the recent exhibition With Eyes Opened: Cranbrook Academy of Art Since 1932, curated by Andrew Blauvelt, at the Cranbrook Art Museum.