Born in the San Fernando Valley within Los Angeles, California, and raised by immigrant parents, Gabriela Yoque is a multimedia, project based artist. Her work uses her personal narratives and experiences as a means to understand larger social issues.
She has exhibited in group shows throughout the country, including Tacoma, Washington; Grand Junction, Colorado; Los Angeles, California and Brooklyn, New York.
She received her Bachelor’s degree in Studio Arts and Computer Science at the University of Puget Sound, in Tacoma, Washington. Yoque received her Master’s degree in Fine Arts at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California.
As the daughter of immigrants…
As a woman in a patriarchal society, as a first generation Guatemalan in academia, I use my identity as a lens to understand and reposition societal constructs. Through the use of printmaking, performance, research, sculpture and installation, I reinterpret, refocus and reevaluate my experiences and the narratives that inform who I am.
With a project-based practice, I move between narratives, from U.S. intervention in Latin America to more personal generational memory. I constantly question histories and access to information. By repairing and reclaiming history, I expose a lack of accountability in a larger American context, while reclaiming my place in the world at a personal level. This is a growing aspect of my practice as I question institutions, both within an art and academic context, and their role in elevating or hiding histories as well as how we value art objects that denote personal experiences.
While interdisciplinary, my practice is grounded in printmaking, specifically screen printing. I am drawn to its historical roots as a means of quickly spreading information, particularly its role in Latin America. The multiplicity of print allows me to use it as a material and an object for larger installations. I am equally interested in performance as it has been historically used as a form of rebellion by artists of color, as well as a way to speak against political systems in Latin America. I adopted performance to speak against the institutionalism and professionalism of the art world that devalues didactic and highly personal work; the same work that opens up the art world to marginalized communities and voices.
These are the dynamics of the art world that I see my work critically engaging with as my practice grows. An element at the forefront of my practice is centering marginalized communities as my intended audience. In creating work for these communities, I hope to make art more accessible and encourage participation in artistic institutions. Hesitancy to engage can stem from a fear of not engaging “correctly” or “sufficiently” with art. This fear is created within art spaces by the professionalization of the art sphere, which prioritizes highly academic vocabulary and a strong theoretical background when reflecting on art.
I aim to shed a light on this professionalization that currently divides the art world and often disregards marginalized communities who might not have access to the resources and knowledge currently “required” in these spaces. I hope to challenge art institutions to recognize how dismissive the current practices are and actively work to bridge this divide.
I will continue to work within the divide of these spaces as I create work that uses my personal narrative to speak to my communities and simultaneously thrives in traditional art spaces.