Mariángeles Soto-Díaz [US/VE] began her art and judo studies in her native Venezuela, the once-promising modern nation that has collapsed into one of the most violent countries in the world. In her recent work, Soto-Díaz has merged her judo and creative practices to examine inflections of power and vulnerability. Moving freely across installation, performance, studio and social practice, she sutures political, ancestral and personal modes to create her own maximalist language.
Soto-Diaz’s work has been exhibited at the Orange County Museum of Art, the SUR:Biennial, the Everywoman’s Biennial (London/NY), 18th Street Art Center, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, MASS MoCA, El Museo del Barrio in NYC, the Stanley Museum, the Fullerton Museum of Art, and the Wignall Museum, among other venues. She began her art and design studies at the Federico Brandt School of Art and the Escuela de Diseño in Caracas, and holds a BA in Psychology and Art from Hampshire College, an MA from the California Institute of the Arts and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. When not in lockdown, she trains at Bunasawa’s Dojo in Costa Mesa and at the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo.
Soto-Díaz was an Assistant Professor at Hampshire College for five years before relocating to California. She was awarded an Oberman Grant Wood fellowship at the University of Iowa, and has also taught at Occidental College and the University of California, Irvine, where she is currently a Research Associate in the Latin American Studies Center. In the non-profit sector, Soto-Díaz has taught community arts programs for organizations such as Arco Iris, Nuestras Raíces and Casa Latina in western Massachusetts, and the Institute for Arts Education in San Diego. She has designed and secured funding for art programs for under-served youth, and also worked as the interim Director for the Public Service and Social Change program at Hampshire College, supervising students working in the community. Soto-Díaz lives and works in Southern California, where she is the founder of the Unconfirmed Makeshift Museum (UMM), a shifting platform for contemporary art.