Installation bamboo chair, velvet, clay roses,soil

The Neuberger Museum

A baby wicker chair, covered with extremely delicate ceramic roses each with a oversized, thorn-like stem, all red, placed atop a pedestal which is covered with blood-red velvet, then surrounded by a circle of dirt and more roses. as such it is one final attempt to protect the child from what she may perceive as a predestined fate.

Dominick Lombardi

New Art Examiner

Esperanza Cortes’s Multipart work “Altar to those Forgotten”, is a heap of unglazed clay roses along with exaggerated long thorns on a table put in front of an abstract painting. If viewers are literal minded, they can read its evanescent imagery as ascending souls, perhaps spirits of Wave Hill.

William Zimmer

The New York Times

Esperanza Cortes works in two and three dimensions with encaustic and fresco, expressing her interest in religion, nature and feminism and embellishing her pieces with clay, flowers, jewelry and fabric.


The New york Times

altar to those forgotten 

Installation, encaustic painting on wood, table, clay, 11’H x 4’W x 2’D


Riverdale, New York


Installation, brocade, clay roses, 7’ x 7’

The Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York 

The delicacy and subtlety of Cortés's work is especially apparent in Piso, consisting of a length of brocade extending from the wall down to and out onto the floor. The floor covering is qualified by a heap of clay flowers. Simultaneously formal and feminine, the piece entails a simple plane of fabric enhanced by multiple forms.

Judy Colishan PHD

Charm Bracelet 

Frescoes, glass beads, chains, metals  60”  x  12”

Works like Charm Bracelet, a wall piece made of frescos, roses, charms, and glass beads, addresses with agonizingly blunt imagery one seemingly un-resolvable pattern common to many abusive relationships. The four painted images: lacerated pelvic area, a bruised mouth, a blood-stained and bruised eye socket, and a nipple contusion, are each flanked by decorative charms. Clearly, the trinkets are given to make the hurt go away; unfortunately, they come from the same source as the pain. The chain—the bracelet minus its adornments—symbolizes the oppression in her life.

Dominick LombardI
New Art Examiner

Longwood’s “stand” includes installations that could pass for theater sets, notably Esperanza Cortes’s “The Wedding Suite”, where the bed is giant box covered with white damask and the curtains are made of fleshy-looking beads and flowers.

Vivien Raynor

The New York Times

The Wedding Suite   

Installation - brocade, lame, pearls, crystal, clay beads, mirror paintings, wood

8’ x  8’ x 16’ 

Bronx Museum of the Arts

New York


A Charmed Life 

2013, chair, brocade, frescos, glass beads, alabaster beads, Chains

7’ x 7’ x 4’

Taller PuertoriqueÑo

Philadelphia, PA

The installation considers the physical/social/spiritual sacrifices made to conform. bruises, lacerations, contusions, stand for the abuses imposed by self and others and question the lengths traversed to attain our desires and the desires themselves.


2008  Clay, string 80” x 80”

Nature is possibly the most formidable component of Cortes’s work. A rhythm set up by repetition, slight irregularities and gathering of forms relates her sculpture to flower beds, clustered seeds or stem of leaves.

Judy Collischan PH.D

A Flor De Piel  

Installation, clay, fresco on marble, salt 7” x 7” x 7’

the bertha and Karl Leubsdorf art Gallery

New York

grave to the unknown woman

Outdoor sculpture

wood, metal, glass,13’ x 2’

Socrates sculpture Park


In my travels though Europe and north africa. I noticed in every town the grave to the unknown soldier. I thought that part of the story of our history was missing. Women who fought and continues to fight throughout the world for freedom, although they do not wear uniforms or receive medals.

a collection of amulets and trinkets, some found, others created epitomize the power with which belief is imbued. suspended and affixed, belief serves to protect and progress our lives and shield us from the inevitability and proximity of death. 

Suspended Thoughts

1998 - 2012  Frescoes

beaded clay sculptures Glass beads, chains clay,wood glass

13’ x 31/2’  dia.

Esperanza Cortes’s labor -intensive Sculptures are based on chains stitched from tiny glass beads. One piece, suspended From the ceiling and hung with handmade amulets and charms, has a dense but attenuated presence.

Holland Cotter

The New York Times

I was originally inspired to become an artist by the “Houses of Worship” I attended as a child. These “Churches” were total environments: architecture, lighting, incense, painted and sculpted images were all combined to create a sense of awe in the viewer. My works are metaphors of experience. I use the human body as a symbol of nature, vulnerability and power.

sonata oscura  

2010 - 2014

Encaustic on wood and canvas, axe, brass chain, 11’L x 4’H x 2’W

Taller Boricua

The theme of injustice in this new series by Esperanza Cortes extends an important continuum in the artist’s oeuvre. In this series, Cortes exposes commodity industries that are dependent upon abusive practices.

The imbedded beads that cover Emerald Tears shimmer in artificial light, a beautiful effect that fetishizes the forms within - a fist, a skull, a heart - and convey a dark truth about their origin. These objects are a metaphor for the cruel system of oppression and violence that is carried out in the name of wealth by the emerald industry in Colombia. The disturbing nature of the system is strikingly conveyed in the juxtaposition between the decorative  aspects and forms of Emerald Tears. The beaded covers function as body bags that are possessive of their human contents.

In this series, Cortes explores the illusion of value and pairs aging, found objects with contemporary artisan materials. The legs and pedal of a Singer sewing machine support the display case in Emerald Tears. There is an eighty-year-old axe hanging on a shiny new brass chain in Sonata. In Black Gold, metal beads are contrasted with a wooden stand, which Cortes found in an abandoned factory. The older found objects are closer in their chemical makeup to natural resources, reminding us of the rapidly changing patterns of global development. 

Ultimately, the nature of work is becoming more predatory than beneficial, and this pattern is occurring on a global scale that separates the consumer from the producer. Returning to Sonata, a history of trauma lurks in the edge of the worker’s dulled axe and is exaggerated by the red smears in the black encaustic backdrop. Cortes expresses the worker’s vulnerable position in a brutal world as a disposable commodity in a system of illusory values.

Alicia JD Cooper