Profile | Statement | Biography



Mandy Cano Villalobos • Profile


Mandy Cano Villalobos

For Mandy Cano Villalobos, materials are just as important as the art itself.  Tea bags, hair, fabric, and ashes are just some of the unconventional means by which she executes her work.

Much of Cano Villalobos’ work focuses on history, the passage of time, and the nature of memories. Attracted to both their ordinary and fragile qualities, the symbolic nature of her chosen materials allows her to weave forgotten narratives into the patterns she creates. While she begins with a concept, as her work progresses, her discoveries inform her decisions and help hone her foundational ideas.  Employing repetitious processes, she experiments with concepts such as ritual and cultural history, and the almost meditative process of physical labor. In her tea bag quilts, which involve sewing together used tea bags in a grid pattern, she marks the passage of time as if the memories formed over many cups of tea are embedded in the work itself.

Mandy Cano Villalobos earned her BA from Asbury University in Wilmore, KY and her MFA from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.  She currently resides in Grand Rapids, MI, where she is an Adjunct Professor of Art at Grand Valley State University.  Her work has been exhibited both in the United States and abroad.

Mandy Cano Villalobos • Statement

“living is grazing

memory is chewing cud”
-Agnes Martin, The Untroubled Mind

A fragile sense of time, place and self marks our age.  Life’s busyness rarely affords us the occasion to process our shifting traditions and fluctuating identities.  Through rituals and story telling my work creates a space to contemplate these ambiguities. I often employ repetitious actions to reflect the redemptive possibilities of physical labor.  Performances consist of recurring tasks that transcend sequential time through incessant motion. Drawings chronicle the ritualistic process of mark making. Other projects mingle forgotten narratives, personal memory, and song lyrics, to explore tenuous understandings of the past, and envisage the passing of the present.

Through collective histories and ritualistic practice I seek the sacred amidst the mundane.  Perhaps if I listen long enough, if I persevere in the banal rites of the everyday, I will be able to occupy the liminal space that is life. 

Mandy Cano Villalobos • Biography


“Collective”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

“Perception & Intention”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

“Toast”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

“Slightly Obsessive”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

“Everyone in the Pool”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

"Freshly Considered", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

Some of the Illustrious Dead, Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (forthcoming)

Rite of Passage, Fielding Wright Art Center, Cleveland, MS (forthcoming)

Hearts and Bones, The Fed Galleries, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI

What is Gone, 33 Contemporary, Chicago, IL

Part of me, 337 Project Space, Grand Rapids, MI

Voces, Institute for Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms, Long Beach, CA

Pure Blood, Cobalt Studio, Chicago, IL

Pedazos, Casa Pauly, Puerto Montt, Chile

N.N. (Ningún Nombre), La Casa de Arte y Cultura "Calles y Sueños", Chicago, IL

Voces, Porter Butts Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Voces, Roxaboxen Exhibitions, Chicago, IL

May Hosiery Mills, Seed Space, Nashville, TN

Nombre, Krasl Art Center, St. Joseph, MI

Americans, 106 Division, Grand Rapids, MI

Voces, Open Concept Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI

La Llorona, 106 Division, Grand Rapids, MI

Hanging Out, Gallery Noir, Grand Rapids, MI

Everyday, Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC


Whatchamacallit, Gallery CA, Baltimore, MD (forthcoming)

Freshly Considered, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

Points of Departure, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI

Extended Family, Kentucky College of Art and Design, Louisville, KY

Mosaic Body, Sojourn Arts, Louisville, KY

(Re)Compose, Grand Rapids Art Museum Fellowship Venue, Grand Rapids, MI

Material Culture, William Roland Gallery of Fine Art, Thousand Oaks, CA

After Dinner, Before Dancing, Chicago Filmmakers, Chicago, IL

Beyond Material, Garage Door Gallery, Sierra Nevada College, Tahoe, NV

Sticks and Squares, UICA, Grand Rapids, MI

OPEN16, Front Art Space, New York, NY

Anthology 2015, Van Der Plas Gallery, New York, NY

Mark, Ground Floor Gallery, Nashville, TN

Rumsey St. Project, Site:Lab, Grand Rapids, MI

Deep Play Fun House, Seed Space, Nashville, TN

Woven Values, WORK Gallery, Stamps School of Art and Design, Ann Arbor, MI 

(n)either/(n)or, The Curatorial Lab, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Somebody Else’s Reality, Film Festival presented by Please Hold Magazine, St. Louis, MO

Rapid Pulse International Performance Festival, Chicago, IL

What Not to Wear: Women Sculptors, Luther C. Brady Art Gallery, The George

Washington University, Washington, DC

Moving Image Reel #1, ACRE Lab, Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL

Beyond Material, Padnos Gallery, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI

A Sense of Place, Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

(e)merge Art Fair, Washington, DC

Pulse/Pulso, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI

Genocide, Ukranian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, IL

USA Documenta, Museum of New Art, Detroit, MI

FLUX, Chaos F Gallery, Washington, DC

(e)merge Art Fair, Washington, DC

Broad Without Walls, Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

100 Grand, Nice Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI

Associations, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI

Praxis, Sitelab, Grand Rapids, MI

Michigan: Land of Riches, Public Museum, Grand Rapids, MI

Sitelab, Grand Rapids, MI

The Object: Found, Multiplied, Manipulated, Ridderhof Martin Gallery, University of Mary

Washington, Fredericksburg, VA

Public/Private, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA

ActiveSite, Grand Rapids Federal Building, Grand Rapids, MI

I love you love me, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY

To Remain, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Sondheim Semi-Finalists, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD

Here and Now, Transformer Gallery, Washington, DC

Transforming Spaces, Messiah College, Grantham, PA

Shapes and Sizes, Area 405, Baltimore, MD

Accumulation, Rosenberg Gallery, Goucher College, Towson, MD


Ignoble in Between, Site:Lab, Grand Rapids, MI

Loosely Bound, 106 Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI

Residuum, SCENE (Metrospace), Ann Arbor, MI 

Utopia/Dystopia, Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI 


Artist Seed Grant, Frey Foundation

Vermont Studio Center, Artist-in-Residence, Johnson, VT

Ragdale, Artist-in-Residence, Lake Forest, IL

Wassaic Artist Residency, Wassaic, NY

Grant, Puffin Foundation, LTD.

Artist Seed Grant, Frey Foundation

Contemporary Artist Center at Woodside, Artist-in-Residence, Troy, NY

Grant, McGregor Scholars Program

ACRE (Artists' Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), Artist-in-Residence, Chicago, IL

Calvin Alumni Association Grant

Grant, The Henry Institute

Grant, Calvin Research Fellowship

Grant, Puffin Foundation, LTD. 

Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize, semi-finalist

Wilson College, Artist-in-Residence, Chambersburg, PA