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Other Tongues

Works by Gabriel Peralta

On view July 5 - August 10, 2024

Frost Bank Gallery

Artist Statement

My work investigates the emergence of the individual self from ecological and social

entanglements, and reimagines animal/plant/material bodies as sites for collaborative

meaning-making. I build sculptural forms and installations as proxies for my emotional and

sensory experience of the world, then recontextualize them through the use of evocative

materials, drastic alteration, and transformation. A pig jawbone becomes the face of a

quasi-humanoid with melted plastic trash compressed into a suggestion of its exposed

organs. The steel figuration of a goat’s head remains forever separated from its body made

of conglomerate materials and skinned in brown paper.

Small figures, or “observers,” appear in my drawings whose contents they perceive through

looking, tasting, smelling, listening, or fully enmeshing themselves in the pictorial plane. They

exist as signifiers of the universe examining our world and our choices through us, although

one could simultaneously interpret them as the subconscious or some external intelligence.

The “observers” operate as a counterpoint to my carefully balanced or composed

sculptures and drawings; they are as disinterested and systematic as they are curious and

haphazardly materialized through their markings.

Decentering any singular authorship of my perspective opens my process to the

possibilities inherent in other vantage points. I intentionally embrace ambiguity and

uncertainty as generative conditions in my work. By destabilizing hierarchies that privilege

certain materials over others, I create space for new relational modalities to emerge. I

subvert conventional notions of value by combining “quality” materials such as tempered

metal or hardwood with “base” materials such as foam, high fructose corn syrup candy, or

mycelial growth, allowing them equal agency in my creative process. This approach borrows

from strategies of mimicry in which certain organisms, plant or animal, appropriate

recognizable signifiers for purposes of camouflage or warning. In this way, mimicry

destabilizes ownership of those signifiers even as they reinforce ecological balance.

Artist Bio

Gabriel Peralta is a multidisciplinary artist and writer whose work explores the emergence

of the individual self from ecological and social entanglements. Their sculpture practice

appropriates the visual language of subjugation and sadomasochism as power mechanisms

within capitalism, and uses it to reimagine animal/plant/material bodies as sites for

collaborative meaning-making and liberation. Gabriel received their MFA in Sculpture and a

graduate certificate in Biotechnology from Texas Tech University (2024), and their BFA in

Sculpture and Ceramics from The Southwest School of Art (2021). Their work has been

exhibited in multiple galleries across Texas and in the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art.

They have been Artist in Residence at the Tablelands Bioregional Center for Art (TX) in

2022 and the Elsewhere Studios Residency (CO) in 2023.


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