Brenda Gonzalez was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Dartmouth College in 2015, majoring in both Studio Art and Japanese Language and Literature. She continued her studies in art through a post-baccalaureate program at Brandeis University from 2017 to 2018. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts at University of California, Davis.
I am a mixed media artist working in sculpture and animation. My work investigates memory with regard to the passage of time and the context of Home. I strive to connect rose-colored nostalgia with elements of an imperfect present. Growing up in a low-income household in East Los Angeles and finding myself longing for a home that changes while I live miles away grounds my work. I often use inexpensive materials sourced from thrift stores and dollar stores that could easily be found in a low-income American home, such as the one in which I grew up. My work explores the idea of “making-do” or “getting by” by seeking to imbue these deserted or nearly obsolete objects with new life. I try to use the textural qualities of objects such as place mats and bathmats or the worn-out nature of an arm chair’s claw feet to invoke the flora and fauna-like qualities that inform what I call my “creature” sculptures: amalgamations of objects stitched together by the idea that perhaps an entity that is half memory and half make-believe may quell present-day anxieties. In my animations, I activate the malleable components of my sculptures to further explore the type of spaces these creatures inhabit and why I feel these creatures need to exist in the first place. I wonder if the combination of objects imbued with memory could have the same soothing effect as a stuffed animal, for example, and question what it is that may make a home, even if at times unkempt or deformed, a safe space worth investing in emotionally.