Hyde Park Art Center to Present The Metamorphosis of Gabriel Villa

Hyde Park Art Center, the renowned non-profit hub for contemporary art located on Chicago’s vibrant South Side, will present The Metamorphosis of Gabriel Villa and a related virtual artist talk. This major new solo exhibition introduces the Chicago artist’s new direction in installation and clay sculpture created during his 2018-19 Jackman Goldwasser Residency at the Art Center, along with a selection of his earlier paintings. Curated by Allison Peters Quinn, Hyde Park Art Center Director of Exhibition & Residency Programs, the exhibition—which is available for in-person viewing—runs through July 17, 2021.

Through an extensive studio and public art practice, Villa seeks to seamlessly translate the language of Mexican traditions and the personal, urban American experience into charged intimate narratives. A free virtual public program Gabriel Villa Virtual Artist Talk will take place Thursday, June 6, 3-4 p.m. via Zoom (, where Villa leads a virtual exhibition walkthrough and conversation with cultural promoter, transgender activist, writer and graphic designer, Franky Piña. Advance registration is required on Eventbrite at

 Sharing the roots for his newer works, Villa said, “My recent series of intimate ceramic works and large-scale paintings are an extension of my studio and public practice from a decades-long career. I have been a maker for many years in Chicago, gradually building a personal visual language. That language, steeped in real and imagined spaces, are far from improvisational. Each work allows for mental meandering, presenting abstracted elements arranged with depictions of my own Mexican American experience and direct observations from in and around Chicago’s Southside. This will be the first time I exhibit so many works at one time in the City of Chicago. I am glad it is taking place at Hyde Park Art Center. I identify with the Southside of Chicago. It’s been my home now for over 20 years.”

This exhibition is partially supported by a grant from The Illinois Arts Council.

Gabriel Villa, a studio and public artist, was born and raised in the El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, border region, and currently resides in Chicago. He was a 2018-19 Jack Goldwasser Artist in Residence at Hyde Park Art Center, and a recipient of the Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Eminent Scholar in Latin American Studies at Columbus State University, GA, 2017. He received his MFA from the University of Delaware, a BFA from Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME, and The New York Academy of Art, NY. Villa served at the National Museum of Mexican Art, from 2006-2011 as a Co-Curator for the Chicago Kraft Foods Gallery, and from 2005-2011 as the Director of Yollocalli Arts Reach, a youth initiative.

Franky Piña is a cultural promoter, transgender activist, writer and graphic designer. She was the editor of eight catalogues of Latino artist from Chicago, and has co-founded several past and present cultural and literary magazines in Chicago including Fe de erratas, zorros y erizos, Tropel and Contratiempo.

Hyde Park Art Center promotes its community’s safety as the number one priority and is utilizing the guidance from the City and State to inform its reopening procedures, including the requiring of masks to be worn in the building at all times; instituting extra cleaning and disinfecting procedures; wide availability of hand sanitizer throughout the building; and the careful configuring of exhibition hours so as to help regulate the number of people and maintain proper social distance in the Art Center at one time.

Exhibition admission is free, and advance registration is required. For latest exhibition hours and advance registration, visit