Monterrey, Mexico, b. 1973
Though Cabrera was born in Mexico, much of her artistic practice was formulated through a border discourse from living in El Paso, Texas. Academically trained at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Hunter College of the City University of New York, Cabrera’s work has been recently shown in notable exhibits such as SITE Santa Fe and the Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is the recipient of several residencies and grants, such as, Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and Artpace International Artist in Residence.
Stylistically connected with the work of American Pop artist Claes Oldenburg, Cabrera’s sculptures of household appliances critique American consumer culture as well as labor conditions abroad. Cabrera uses these simple household objects, such as the sewing machine, to reflect on the dualities these products represent on either side of the border, from the factory workers in the maquiladoras that produced them, to facilitating domestic tasks for the consumer. Whereas her soft-sculpture cacti, such as Space in Between- Nopal (Candelaria Cabrera), focuses on the importance of local craft. She employs artisans to aid in the creation of each cactus as a unifying agent for the community, while utilizing materials that traditionally are associated with the division of people, such as fabrics taken from border patrol uniforms.
Cabrera is currently working on a San Antonio River Foundation commission sculpture: Árbol de la Vida: Voces de la Tierra. The massive installation (measuring 80′ wide by 40′ high) is located near Mission Espada in San Antonio, TX. Árbol de la Vida is a physical reflection of stories crafted by the people of San Antonio. Inspired by the region-specific history of ranching, the steel tree-like structure will be adorned with more than 750 clay sculptures created by the community.
Her work has been included in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; the McNay Museum San Antonio; the Sweeney Art Center for Contemporary Art at the University of California, Riverside, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and El Museo del Barrio, NYC. In 2012 she was a recipient of the Knight Artist in Residence at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, NC. Cabrera was also a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant.