Antonia A. Perez

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What is my work about?

In choosing to work with used plastic grocery bags as a primary material I’ve committed to act in support of the environment. I mine the detritus of everyday life for evidence of the nature of contemporary quotidian existence, and through a transformation of found materials I situate my work in the colors, patterns and geometries of domesticity and a throwaway culture. These materials are versatile enough to utilize in a multitude of forms intrinsic to two of my central interests—textile design and the role of textiles in the art canon.

 

Artist Statement

My work depends on the collection of remainders. I mine the detritus of everyday life for evidence of the nature of contemporary quotidian existence. I collect used plastic bags, tissue boxes, plastic bottle caps, household textiles approaching the status of rags and myriad other discarded objects that have performed brief or enduring service in our daily life, and then are casually tossed away. The work is about transforming the substance and personality of whatever material I am using to something unexpected, something that may be unrecognizable from its former purpose at first glance. These materials are versatile enough to utilize in a multitude of forms intrinsic to two of my central interests—textile design and the role of textiles in the art canon. I situate my work in the colors, patterns and geometries of domesticity and a throwaway culture.

When I first noticed that the plastic bags mushrooming in my kitchen were produced in what amounted to a complete palette of colors, I decided to make them a primary art material. This was also a choice to act in support of the environment and to reject the practice of accepting plastic bags at the store. While abundantly available and ecologically detrimental, plastic bags, as a fiber for making sculpture, reveal a singular beauty in their transformation from trash to art. Color and pattern are visually seductive to the human eye and as marketing tools are efficient in enticing consumers. The plastic bags used in this work have been collected from friends, acquaintances, and strangers I’ve encountered in the course of my day-to-day movements thus supporting an active political and social discourse as part of my practice.

The cross-pollination of color and pattern amongst commercial packaging materials, textile design, needlework and visual art interest me. The subtle and bold uses of color and design permeate every aspect of our daily lives and function as a backdrop to the activity of our existence as well as sources for my work. The four untitled collages I have included here reference ubiquitous design tropes and the role modernism has played in their omnipresence. What meaning can we ascribe to a particular pattern or design that generally serves an aesthetic purpose but that doesn’t alert the viewer to a deeper significance? In the two installations included here—Doily Pattern and Black Lace and The Source With Market Bag and Curtains—I seek to emphasize some of those profound implications.

Crochet’s historically plebian reputation in the world of needlework as compared to knitting or weaving was the catalyst for its choice as a principal technique to use in making my work, fostering my desire to elevate its stature to that of sculpture. The relatively inconsequential status of fiber art itself makes this choice even more attractive as a means of accentuating the value of hand-made labor, meditative practice, and work largely regarded as pertaining to women. I am interested in supplanting the outmoded view that large abstract sculpture need be fabricated by men through mechanized processes, with this do-it-yourself means of production. Rope is a sculpture that underscores this point as well as implies the sobering fact that the continued production of single-use plastics is providing the means of our own destruction.

I am using humble techniques to transform trash produced by contemporary culture into art works that invite you to look beyond their aesthetic appeal to the underlying significance of their substance, form, and legacy.

 

EDUCATION
Queens College, City University of New York, Master of Fine Arts, 2010
Empire State College, State University of New York, Bachelor of Arts 2006

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
2015
Space Available, 1329 Willoughby, curated by Rob de Oude and Paul Corio, Bushwick, NY.

2014
Back in Five Minutes: Antonia Perez Artist Residency Exhibition, El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY.
Women Choose Women Again, curated by Mary Birmingham and Katherine
Murdock, Visual Art Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ.
Artists in the Library, NYPL, curated by Tamar, Mulberry Branch, New York, NY.

2013
Schmatte, curated by Deborah Brown, Storefront Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY.
The Emo Show, curated by Jaishri Abichandani with Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, EFA
Project Space, New York, NY.
Doily Pattern and Black Lace (site-based installation), Praxis Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY.
Nearly Neutral, curated by John O’Connor, Barbara Walters Gallery, Sarah
Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY.

2012
Pressing Matter, curated by Rob de Oude, Parallel Art Space, Brooklyn, NY.
Amplify Action, curated by Shervone Neckles, Skylight Gallery at Restoration Plaza, Brooklyn, NY.
Marie Walsh Sharpe Open Studios, Brooklyn, NY.

2011
Heart Beats: Sol Aramendi, Antonia A. Perez, Lina Puerta, curated by Trinidad
Fombella, Praxis Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY.
El Museo’s Bienal The (S) Files, curated by Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, Trinidad
Fombella, Elvis Fuentes, El Museo Del Barrio at Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, New York, NY.
El Museo’s Bienal The (S) Files, curated by Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, Trinidad
Fombella, Elvis Fuentes, El Museo Del Barrio at Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY.
El Museo’s Bienal The (S) Files, curated by Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, Trinidad
Fombella, Elvis Fuentes, El Museo Del Barrio Café, New York, NY.
El Museo’s Bienal The (S) Files, curated by Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, Trinidad
Fombella, Elvis Fuentes, El Museo Del Barrio at Chasama/Donnell Windows, New York, NY.
Express/Local, curated by Tara Mathison, The Art Center, City University of New York, Queens College, Flushing, NY.

2011
Studio LLC, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, Queens, NY.
Small.Black.Show, curated by Matt Mahler, Small Black Door Gallery, Ridgewood, NY.
CAA New York Area MFA Exhibition, curated by Stamatina Gregory, Time Square Gallery, New York, NY.

2010
Rags to Riches, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Klapper Gallery, City University of New York, Queens College, Flushing, NY.
Joan Mitchell Foundation Artist Teacher Exhibition, Work Space Harlem Gallery, New York, NY.
Verses from the Abstract: Selection from the Queens College MFA Studio Art Program, Curated by Herb Tam, Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, Long Island City, NY.
Repurposes, curated by Kenneth Fitzgerald, Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Gallery, Old Dominion University, VA.

2009
Top Show, MFA group exhibition curated by Glen Goldberg, The Puffin Room, New York, NY.

2008
The Art of Healing, Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery, Morristown, NJ.
Retail Space Available, MFA group exhibition, Gallery 151, New York, NY.

2007
Garden Variety Plastic (installation), Ryllega Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam.

2006
Queens International 2006, Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY.

2005
Random Navigation, (one person), Islip Museum Store, East Islip, NY.

2004
Drawing Conclusions, Islip Museum, East Islip, NY.
Caught in the Kitchen, PS 122 Gallery-Hallway Project, New York, NY.
Small Works Show, Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY.

AWARDS/HONORS
Smack Mellon Hot Picks, 2013
Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program Award 2011-12

RESIDENCIES AND FELLOWSHIPS
Back in Five Minutes Residency, El Museo del Barrio, 2014
Soaring Gardens Residency, Laceyville, PA. 2012
Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Studio LLC Program, 2011
Express/Local, Art Center, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, New York, 2011

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Women Choose Women Again, Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, 2014, pp13, 42-43, 94.
Nearly Neutral, The Barbara Walters Gallery, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, 2013, pp 35-36.
The Emo Show: Rocio Aranda-Alvarado,
http://www.efanyc.org/ps-blog/2013/4/18/the-emo-show-rocio-arandaalvarado.html
2011 Studio LLC, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, ed. Heng-Gil Han, 2011
El Museo’s Bienal The (S) Files 2011, El Museo Del Barrio, NYC 2011, PP152-153.
Queens International 2006, Everything All At Once, Queens Biennial Vol. 3, catalog article by Herb Tam, Queens Museum of Art, 2006

PRESS

http://www.artinlimbo.com/2013/06/03/the-heart-of-a-neighborhood-bushwickopen-studios/

http://bushwickdaily.tumblr.com/post/53050660282/antonia-perez-piece-at-storefrontbushw-beautiful

http://artlog.com/post/51820781952/debris-and-detritus-in-bushwickthe-exhibitions

Jameskalmroughcut video:
http://www.youtube.com/user/jameskalmroughcut#p/u/7/k1VA9HOF-D8

http://www.artinnewyorkcity.com/2012/04/page/2/

http://sculptureadventures.blogspot.com/2011/07/antonia-perez-whitefence.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304657804576401573431687248.html#printMode “Showcasing the Fabric of Art,” L. Esplund, The Wall Street Journal, 06/25/11

antonia-perez

http://www.qchron.com/qboro/stories/article_38f55ffa-332f-57b9-9c6e-29bccd0be1bc.html?mode=story
Queens Chronicle, “Home is Where the Art Is”, Mark Lord, June 2011

http://magazine.saatchionline.com/top-10-shows/will-corwins-new-york-top-tenfor-may-june-2011

NY1 News, “Art Exhibit Showcases Various Interpretations of Queens” Angela Chen, 05/06/2011.
http://www.ny1.com/content/138661/art-exhibit-showcases-variousinterpretations-of-queens?r=8952327871
Queens Tribune Online, “Queens College Dips into Local Expression,” April 28, 2011

TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York, NY. 2009-present: Artist Teacher and Peer Coach

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Learning Through Art, New York, NY. 2004-2014: Teaching Artist and Mentor

Adjunct instructor:
Empire State College, SUNY. 3D Studio Art Practice Summer 2013
Empire State College, SUNY, Advanced Studio Practice Fall 2012
Empire State College, SUNY. 3D Studio Art Practice Summer 2012.

Guest Lecturer:
Sarah Lawrence College. Visiting artist/studio visit. April 2012
Empire State College, SUNY. Slide talk
New York University, School of Continuing Professional Studies, Programs in the Arts, Humanities and Writing.
Parsons School of Design/The New School. Slide talk

Teaching Assistant:
Drawing I (Classical), Kurt Kauper, Instructor, CUNY, Queens College, 2009
Drawing II, III, Debra Priestly, Instructor, CUNY, Queens College, 2010
Sculpture II, III, Gregory Sholette, Instructor, CUNY, Queens College, 2009
Sculpture II, III, Maureen Conner, Instructor, CUNY, Queens College, 2010

ARTIST TALKS/PANELS
NURTUREart, Brooklyn, NY 2015
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City 2014
El Museo del Barrio, New York City 201