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Michelle Cortez Gonzales

The Space Between 

Michelle Cortez Gonzales, Master of Fine Arts in Art Thesis Exhibition

Welcome to Michelle Cortez Gonzales' online showcase.

Artist Statement 

My work reflects an amalgam of history and fragmented memories. Through sewing, constructing and painting from remnants left behind, I metaphorically recreate a history. I connect the act of making with the process of
remembering.

I am interested in how memory is formed and preserved through time and space. Each time recalled, memories are altered, shifting our experiences into an unstable or imaginary place. I explore the areas of memory that are obscured and contradictory, which challenge our truth and our idea of our past and of self. We fill these spaces with sentimental objects, which we view as physical extensions of ourselves and allow us to reconstruct our memories.

My constructed paintings reference family photographs of known and unknown figures. My process resonates
with my content in the way I interlace my materials and ideas. Various household textiles found in thrift stores
are sewn together and layered over with painted imagery sourced from various photographs. Vibrant and patterned
fabrics are used to reference childhood, family and home. I sew these mismatched textiles together as a
symbolic gesture of linking a memory to a new and collective narrative. Sewing and juxtaposing painted imagery
with implied and actual objects allows me to break up space within and outside the parameters of a painting. The
work begins to occupy a liminal space of illusion and reality; erasure and recovery; celebration and separation;
the known and unknown.

My use of multiple perspectives, saturated color and imagery fade back and forth into different spaces to highlight
the complexities and imperfections of a hazy recollection. I alter the perception of sentimental remnants,
such as personal photographs, used bed sheets, found domestic furniture, etc., and what they represent through
manipulation and reconstruction. Constructing the work with my hands and controlling the purpose of these remnants together with paint is an important part of healing past relationships and connecting to my history.

About the Artist

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Michelle Cortez Gonzales earned her BFA in painting from the University of Texas at Arlington, and MA in painting from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas. She worked with the Arts Council of Fort Worth from 2007 to 2014 as a public art community engagement specialist and a project manager. Prior to working with the Arts Council, she worked three years with the Fort Worth Independent School District as a high school art teacher and department head at Polytechnic High School. Recently she served as the graduate assistant for painting professor Kim Owens and was the director and instructor for the University of Dallas summer academy program. Michelle also assisted installing exhibitions at the Beatrice M. Haggerty Gallery. Michelle has been a passionate advocate for art education and local artists for over thirteen years. Connecting to her community is a driving force behind her artwork. Michelle has completed her Masters of Fine Arts in Art with a painting focus from the University of Dallas. You can see more of her work on her website or on her Instagram page @_chellecg_.

 

For all the images in the exhibition visit here

GALLERY OF WORK

 

delusions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delusions and Hallucinations

2019

resin, acrylic, oil, sewn fabric, chair leg, 60" x 72" 

 

sappy 

 

 

 

 

 

Sappy Fools

2020 

oil, lace, canvas, 30" x 42" 

  

strangers

 

 

 

Strangers in Frame

2020

resin, acrylic, oil, silver leaf, sewn fabric, picture frames, 66" x 102"

 

 

shadows

 

 

 

 

 

Shadows of Ourselves

2020

acrylic, oil, fabric, wood panel 42" x 66"

 

historic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic Preservation

2020

 ink, resin, wax pencil, plastic tea set, sewn fabric, wood panel 66" x 48"

 

For all the images in the exhibition visit here