In this episode, I talk to the artist Marcelina Gonzales about challenging preconceptions of being a Hispanic female through her work. Marcelina creates meticulous pieces that combine paint and resin to recreate memories of her youth. In our conversation, she discusses how she navigated her experience from adolescence to womanhood while growing up in Brownsville, a border-town located at the southernmost tip of Texas. The Rio Grande Valley, the area where she came of age, is a unique place for its fusion of Mexican and American culture and traditions yet it is often regarded with contempt by outlets that promote its poverty, lack of education, and danger. Marcelina works to reconcile the shame triggered by the circumstances and external barriers set by her perceived identity, ability, and class. Ultimately she seeks empowerment as she works to destroy the expected social, political, economic, religious, and sexual role of a female living in today’s America.
Marcelina’s work has been exhibited repeatedly throughout Texas in galleries and exhibitions such as Freight Gallery in San Antonio, Fort Worth’s Fort Works Art competitive “40 under 40” Exhibition, the El Paso International Museum of Art, and at the 500X Gallery in Dallas, Texas. She has been included in several juried exhibitions throughout the United States including the Rosetta Hunter Gallery located in Seattle Central College and in exhibitions spaces in Los Angeles and New York City. She has also had the opportunity to travel internationally with her work to places such as Berlin, Germany, Budapest, Hungary, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Most recently she took part in a 3 person exhibition in New York City’s Chelsea Gallery, Field Projects. In January 2020 she was awarded a grant by The Brownsville Beautification Committee, in partnership with the City of Brownsville, City of Matamoros and the Mexican Consulate in Brownsville to create a mural in her hometown for Sin Fronteras/Without Borders, an initiative created to unify the border cities.