Marco A. Oviedo is a visionary woodcarver/sculptor who lives and works in Chimayo, New Mexico. The piñon-juniper dotted foothills of historic Chimayo provide a backdrop for the traditional folk art and unique contemporary bronze sculpture that Marco produces. Since the early seventies he has interpreted New Mexico religious folk art styles and southwest designs in his creations.
As an eighth generation descendant of a family of woodworkers and woodcarvers who originated in Oviedo, the capital of the province of Asturias in Spain, Marco attributes his woodcarving skills to his grandfather. Marco is proud to carry the family tradition forward -- involving the entire family in aspects of the production of his work.
Marco makes traditional wooden saints, but he goes beyond the boundaries of traditition by creating santos in bronze. Marco begins by carving a wooden statue. Then, by following the lost wax technique, he replicates the carving in bronze. A final patina is produced with special salts to simulate a color that is produced by the natural pigments used in traditional santos.
This process preserves the essence of New Mexican polychrome saints and retains the wood grain of their original medium and look of wood. The bronze casting allows Marco to be more creative as an artist because he can use other media such as wax or clay to create the original sculpture. Thus he has liberated himself as an artist by not limiting himself to a single style or medium with which he works. As a result, he produces original compositions based on southwestern traditions and designs, from modernistic to abstract.
Inspired by the expression reflected in Native American prehistoric art which he admires and respects, Marco has extended his repertoire to bronze sculptures of animal fetishes or images derived from petroglyphs.
Marco has researched and studied century-old techniques to recreate more decorative religious icons as made by Spanish and Mexican artists in the 15th and 16th century using gold that had been discovered in the Americas. In that time there were guilds of artists that the Church used as instruments to create three dimensional biblical images. Marco however is the sole artist for all steps in the creation of these types of woodcarvings, which is termed "estofado y encarnado". He himself intricately carves, prepares, gilds, paints and engraves each carving. His philosophy is that "conserving the old by mixing it with the present will create the future".
A gifted artist, Marco Oviedo honors history and the spirit of place with beautiful traditional and contemporary sculpture.
Collections of his work can be found at the Albuquerque Museum, Museum of New Mexico-Santa Fe, International Folk Art Museum-Santa Fe, Millicent Rogers Museum-Taos, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum-Washington, D.C., National Hispanic Heritage Museum-Albuquerque, Spanish Colonial Arts Museum-Santa Fe, and the Autry Museum-Los Angeles.