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Gabriel Soto

Gabriel (b. 1 993) is a Salvadoran artist currently based in the DC Area. He graduated from The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 201 7 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. His work currently focuses on experimental painting and multi-media installation.

“My practice is rooted in my own cultural duality. A child of the Cold War, I was born a year after the Salvadoran Civil War ended. This was a time of ideological warfare, as much as it was a military conflict fueled by American propaganda and communist rebellion. Having immigrated to
the United States at a young age, I remain aware of the aesthetic nature of misinformation, false representation, and advertising touchstones of the 20th century, as this informs the painterly work I’m doing today. At the center of my current series titled, “Billboards,” I am reimagining both the figurative and abstract qualities of old posters and adverts that take on propagandistic messaging from various points of view, and intersect their relationship with the passage of time.

Time distorts. Materials fade. There’s a contemporary antiquity that fascinates and compels me to break down the surface of things and find what’s left, what’s missing, and what was never there. This series is an ongoing portfolio of paintings, but also functions as sculptures that are meant to be seen outdoors in dilapidated spaces and forested areas. They are artificial relics of propaganda’s graphic history, market forces, and political revolutions. I’m interested in how such ideas still haunt our current age, and how they might look in the present moment.

My goal is that “Billboards” becomes a way to push my approach to painting further into new mediums. I see it as representational art, where images signify a subject and a particular take on history, identity, memory, and time. In so many ways, this body of work is my foundational
story and a stepping stone toward a broader artistic voice.”

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