The majority of Borinquen Gallo's artworks involve extensive weaving which she performs by hand. Each of her works require weeks or months of personal labor. Gallo describes the weaving process as both repetitive and deeply meditative: a sort of physical mantra. She characterizes her approach to such work as "quasi-hypnotic." She considers a sense of temporal disruption as a fundamental element of both her prcoess and the resulting object.
Born in Rome to an Italian father and a Puerto Rican mother, Borinquen 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 works also entail a sense of meditative contemplation and a yearning toward transcendence that reflect the artist's early, prolonged exposure to pre-modern Italian art. By contrast, the materials that Gallo employs serve as fragmentary physical embodiments of her external environemnt in the Bronx - a locale to which she feels profoundly connected. By closely integrating physical elements from physical and social settings of her life with self-referential thematic conerns, Gallo's work serves to collapse distinctions between personal memory and identity - thereby reframing her work as a distinctive integration of individual and communal elements.
Although the vast majority of Gallo's labor is painstakingly wrought by her own hand, at other points she abruptly modulates her production methods towards the collective by utilizing students or community members to participate in the aggregation of discrete elements into large-scale or installation works. Gallo consciously considers her process at such points as shifting to a collective endeavor with "social connotations," whereby the production is transformed into a "visual metaphor for community."
The ubiquity of plastic and industrial materials in Gallo's work inevitably raises issues related to consumerism and environmentalism, though she aims for a radical shift in perspective rather than didacticism or over-simplification. Across a broad range of considerations - materials, 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, Italy) is a Bronx-based artist whose work delves into themes of beauty, community, and purpose through sculpture and large installations.
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 awards, 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 Artist Residency. In addition, she has worked on curatorial projects with BAM Fischer, and Pratt Institute.
Previous group exhibitions include The National Academy Museum, Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Hennessy Youngman’s Show, Queens Museum, Columbia University, The Cooper Union, and Queens College. Gallo’s art has been cited in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Hyperallergic, ArtNews, and Artnet News. She is currently Assistant Professor of Art and Design Education at Pratt Institute in New York.