Gale Antokal was born in New York, New York, and received her BFA (1980) and MFA from the California College of the Arts in 1984. She is a Professor at San Jose State University in the Department of Art and Art History and Coordinator in the Pictorial area. Antokal held several visiting artist positions and teaching positions including the San Francisco Art Institute, Instructor of Art History at the Lehrhaus Institute, and the American College in Jerusalem. She was an affiliate faculty member in the JSSItaly program in Civita Castellana, Italy in 2015. In 1992 Antokal received a Visual Arts Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is represented by Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, CA, Couturier Gallery in Los Angeles, Tayloe Piggott Gallery in Jackson Hole, WY, and Amy Simon Fine Arts in Westport Connecticut. Her work is included in public, private and international collections.
My drawings are made with mixtures of white chalk, graphite, flour and ash. Personal history is always present in my artwork, whether straightforward or oblique. This first hand experience might not be the subject matter itself, but a filter through which I perceive subjects. I am preoccupied with the question of what we leave behind to prove that we have existed. I use photo sources that are original, from books and the Internet as the basis of my work. I construct a meaning in my work that is not apparent in the photo, in order to anchor my memory, so that it is a constant from which I can work. The photos create a reference, but in most cases, they are not the truth. At times, incidental elements in the photo’s far distance become the main event in which I am interested. I define A place when there is an “above and “below.” A space would only possess one of these elements, not an intersection of the two. Often I situate my work in a place without a vanishing point, with a vague sense of diminution, to further the ambiguity, and create a stateless space, devoid of specific location. My subjects are in a state of dispersal. They depict natural migration or cultural deportation. Similarly, the materials I use can be brushed away in a moment. These materials, ineffable light dry powders, can be easily dispersed by the slightest movement of air. The finished pieces are vulnerable even after being sprayed with fixative. This is an appropriate metaphor for any culture or life that has potential of being wiped away in a brief historical moment.