As a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, artist Vanessa Gonzalez skillfully navigates a narrative of pride in identity across borders. Although born in America, Gonzalez was raised in Mexico. She returned to the States at age 17 at the height of a politically and socially charged immigration environment. A non-English speaker upon arrival, in just a few short years she has succeeded artistically, academically, and professionally, now calling Memphis, Tennessee home.
Informed by her personal experiences and current teaching career, Gonzalez explores concepts of culture, diversity, diaspora, loss, education, and freedom in linocuts, digital art, and silkscreen inspired by traditional Mexican woodcuts and ceramics. Vibrant colors and black and white figurative imagery illustrate the beauty of the people with whom she connects and the challenging issues with which she contemplates. Often using flags and passports in her work, Gonzalez weaves a common thread utilizing striking clothing including traditional Mexican garb and contemporary men’s suits. Her symbolic visual language points to palpable perceptions of pleasure versus pain, and liberty versus authority, leaving a lasting impression.