• Elena Gonzalez, “Roses”, mixed media on fabric
  • Elena Gonzalez, “Shield 2”, mixed media
  • Elena Gonzalez, "Receding Waters", reclaimed bedsheets, bleach, coffee, clay, 8'2", 8'6", 2'4"
  • Elena Gonzalez, “Tejido I”, colored pencil on paper
  • Elena Gonzalez, “The Way Of The Dodo”, mixed media

Familiar Matters investigates the ways that we evolve through our experiences of domesticity and its sociopolitical, environmental, personal, and spiritual influences. My ideology is based in the writings of Chicana theorist and activist, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and her concept of the mestiza consciousness. Anzaldúa defines this variously as “a consciousness of duality,” a reviving of the connection between the conscious and subconscious minds, and a focus on the spiritual potency of our experiences. Anzaldúa employs this method of thought in order to combat rigid, habitual modes of social tradition that perpetuate systems of violence on both a personal and global scale.

I apply Anzaldúa’s theory to domestic spaces, drawing upon formative experiences from my upbringing to investigate the nuances of domesticity and patterns of habit that simultaneously shape oneself and society. To do this I incorporate traditional craft and pattern into my work, following the legacy of the Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970’s, which challenged the notion that tapestry, quilting, knitting, etc. are “women’s work” and blurred the barrier between “high” and “low” art.  Like the P&D artists, I appropriate objects and materials found in the home, manipulating and combining them in ways that evoke memory, and inevitably feelings of trauma and nostalgia that may be embedded within them.

This work highlights the unexpected properties of the materials we exist around everyday. I utilize their roles within my memory in formal explorations bridging material and human experience in order to discover a new space that grows between them. How do oppositions inform and complement each other? How do we work through our own internal conflicts and open ourselves to different realms of possibilities with which we can liberate ourselves and rethink the framework of society? We are beings of complex and fluid consciousness, a summation of colorful experience existing within the same body; trauma, joy, destruction and creation. By understanding the personal as political and confronting ingrained social systems on these levels, one may enact both inner and global social change.