Plan B (VOLTA) - 2019
525 W 19th Street
March 6 - 9, 2019
Burning in Water is pleased to feature a solo presentation of recent work by gallery artist Borinquen Gallo. The exhibition will feature two large-scale wall works and a series of sculptures fashioned from intricately reconstituted street materials such as yellow and red “caution” tape, construction tarps, garbage bags, discarded hub-caps, and debris netting.
Devoid of overtly figurative elements, Gallo’s sculptures nevertheless embody intensely personal and autobiographic qualities. Born in Rome to a Puerto Rican mother and an Italian father, Gallo subsequently spent her formative years living in the Bronx, where she continues to reside and maintains her studio. Despite their genesis in humble, disposable materials, Gallo’s totemic sculptures entail soaring, flourishing gestures reminiscent of the classical art and architectural influences to which she was broadly exposed as a child. The majority of her artworks involve extensive weaving, which she performs by hand. Each of these works require weeks or months of personal labor. Gallo describes the weaving process as both repetitive and deeply meditative: a sort of physical mantra. The works also yield a sense of meditative contemplation and a yearning toward transcendence that reflect the artist’s early, prolonged exposure to pre-modern Italian art.
The materials that Gallo employs serve as fragmentary physical embodiments of her external environment in the Bronx - a locale to which she feels profoundly connected. Elements such as the caution tape used to cordon off degenerated buildings or crime scenes evoke the troubled history of the area, while other materials such as the tarps of blue plastic that are ubiquitous among construction sites in the area allude to its ongoing social and physical transformation.
By deliberately restricting herself to the use of disposable materials intrinsic to urban settings, Gallo elaborates complex tensions between the ephemeral and the enduring; the disposable and the sacred; creation and decay. Although the ubiquity of plastic and industrial materials in Gallo’s work inevitably raises issues related to consumerism and environmentalism, she aims for a radical shift in perspective rather than didacticism or oversimplification. Across a broad range of considerations — material, formal, psychologically intimate and social — Gallo aims “to modulate between the familiar and the surprising” so as to fundamentally disrupt viewers’ assumptions regarding what is valuable.
Borinquen Gallo (b. 1975, Rome) is a Bronx-based artist whose work delves into themes of beauty, community and purpose through sculpture and large installations. Previous group exhibition venues include The National Academy Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Queens Museum, Columbia University, and The Cooper Union. Gallo received her BFA in Painting and Sculpture from The Cooper Union for The Advancement of Science and Art and her MFA in Painting from Hunter College. She has received numerous distinctions, including the Sol Shaviro Award (2015), the Marion Netter Fellowship (2010) and the Doris Liebowitz Art Educator Award (2009). She has completed residencies at The Vermont Studio Center and The Cooper Union. In addition, she has worked on curatorial projects with BAM, Fisher and the Pratt Institute. Gallo’s art has been cited in numerous publications, including Hyperallergic, ArtNews, and Artnet News. Gallo is currently Assistant Professor of Art and Design Education at Pratt Institute in New York.