Gabriela Monterroso is a contemporary figurative artist in Houston, Texas. Working with oils, acrylics, pastels, and natural pigments, her core passion is creating two dimensional figures of women and horses. The two main themes in her work are deeply connected as she explores the insecurities of women and portrays the horse as an alter ego of power and confidence. Her studio practice is a part of Sawyer Yards, in the heart of Art District Houston—one of the biggest visual arts communities in the United States. Figurative artworks by Gabriela have found purchased homes in private collections and several have been selected to be part of group exhibitions including the Visual Arts Alliance’s (VAA) “37th Juried Exhibition” in 2020, “Convergence”—the LAWAH exhibition at the Glassell of MFAH in 2019, and “Creatures”—a Kinder Morgan Exhibition in 2018. As well, Gabriela was also a featured artist at the Latino Art Now! Conference in 2019, there her work was one of thirty-eight artworks featured in a city-wide billboard campaign in Houston. Guatemalan-born and raised, Monterroso is an active member of her local arts communities and is a founding member of the Latin American Women Artists in Houston (LAWAH) organization.
In college, Gabriela majored in Industrial Psychology and Spanish Interpretation and Translation. She is a continuing education student at the Glassell School of Art at the MFAH. This year, she opened a small gallery, Monterroso Gallery, that will feature the works of local artists actively engaged in and dedicated to their studio practice. The first group exhibition will open in December 2020.
You know when you have done something long enough that it had become muscle memory? My drawings of women and horses are so big that their creation engages my entire body and the shapes and lines have become so familiar that they’re more of a meditational dance for me. A dance that allows my mind to stop. Nothing else matters.
I always love the initial sketch of a piece. Then as I start adding color, things change. I change my mind then subsequently change the colors. Then I change my mind again and find myself editing in ways to get back to the initial drawing. People often ask me how I incorporate such rich textures into my art. The answer is: layers and layers of “bad” decisions that work for the greater good, I suppose.