Realness – Pilar Gallego

Realness, 2009

Using fashion as a point of departure, New York-based artist Pilar Gallego juxtaposes highbrow postmodernist queer and feminist theory and the lowbrow aesthetics of art movements to comment on the social construction of gender binaries and the ever-shifting continuum between butch, trans-masculine, and male identities. Influenced by the theories of Hélène Cixous, Gallego challenges the singularity of how contemporary men’s high fashion is marketed by creating an alternative language of masculinity and exercising a uniquely butch visual vocabulary. Her caricatures of masculine archetypes alternate between the familiar and hyperbolic, light-hearted and grotesque, absurd and edgy—leading the viewer into a comically rendered world of murky relationships and subverted absolutes.

Gallego utilizes a distinct DIY and street-focused approach in her choices to paint on found materials and to reference popular fashion magazine layouts in her images. She resists the male-dominated artistic histories of graffiti, pop, and tattoo art movements by celebrating punk sensibilities and feminist politics of women’s art movements, in particular folk art.

Pilar Gallego is a Brooklyn-based artist, curator, and queer community activist. She is interested in exploring and developing a visual language that speaks to and of gender, feminism, and minority representations. Pilar is a graduate of Pratt Institute, where she studied fine art and creative writing. She has worked with Leslie/Lohman Gallery as co-curator of Pink & Bent: The Art of Queer Women, with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project as organizing committee member for the Annual Small Works for Big Change Art Auctions, and as curator of various queer film & video screenings. Pilar hopes to build community through art.