Fine Art Focus: Magdalena Atria

by Grace Bonney

For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with some not-so-fun health issues that I’ve been working with doctors to figure out. I don’t have a full diagnosis yet, so my life right now feels like one long string of tests, imaging and scans. Looking at your own body and organs that way can be pretty disconcerting, but I’ve been trying hard to keep my head up and find ways to see it all as informative, rather than scary. And oddly enough, this week I found an artist whose work is making me see the beauty in some of the scans and tests I’ve been doing.

Magdalena Atria is a remarkable Chilean artist who often focuses on abstractions of the human body in her work. Her hyper-colored pieces, like the one above, remind me of beautifully reimagined brain scans from another planet. Or a cabbage that’s been cut in half. Either way, they make me think about health in a good way. Beyond her work related to the human body, I love the way that Magdalena works with incredibly bright colors and applies them to inanimate objects — like rocks, baskets and architectural structures — to create these bold moments of contrast. I could look at her work all day. Read on to learn more about her work below. xo, grace

Artist: Magdalena Atria
About: Magdalena was born in Santiago, Chile in 1966. She received her MFA from Parsons in 1997 and her BA in 1989 from the Universidad Católica de Chile.
Work: Texture, color and the human body play huge roles in Magdalena’s work. She says, “Some constants in my work are the tension between the rational and the emotional, the collective and the personal, the real and the ideal, the formal and the symbolic. I explore these notions through different mediums — painting, drawing, sculpture and photography — always with a particular emphasis on the materials and processes I utilize.”
More: You can read more about Magdalena’s work , and .

All work (c) Magdalena Atria. Images via and


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  • hope you are ok, grace. i have been going through a health crisis that continues to gather steam and yet drs are stumped. The internet has been more helpful to me than medical drs at this point, sad to say. I really suggest you look into a naturopathic doctor – someone who will look at you as an entire system and not just individual parts. Take control of your own health. I wish someone had told me this sooner. Without our health we have nothing. I have learned this lesson through all of 2015 and wish so much I could go back in time.

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