Gaspar's artistic practice negotiates matters of space and power. It is intended to make what is invisible, more visible and what is unknown, known. Through interdisciplinary approaches, she individually and collectively mediates or occupies physical, symbolic, and socio-cultural aspects of given sites to create ephemeral and permanent scenarios that divert or dismantle previous contexts, such as locations with mutable or immutable narratives that are commonly overlooked or unnoticed. She often works at the interstices of artist, facilitator, collaborator, and organizer within larger-scaled projects that are multi-layered, complicated, and involve support from local organizations and public participation. Using installation, sculpture, performance, community-engagement, and audio, she examines the parameters and potentials of contested geographies to create new social meanings.
Born in Chicago, Maria Gaspar is an interdisciplinary artist. In her community-engaged projects, she creates action-based and performative art experiences with youth and adults that explore the social and political body through long-term processes. She has presented her work at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Jane Addams Hull House Museum, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, and the Alpineum Produzentengalerie, amongst others. She received a Sor Juana Young Visionary Award from the National Museum of Mexican Art for her artistic work in 2008. Recently, Gaspar was awarded a prestigious Creative Capital Award for a set of sound projects in Chicago, a Maker Grant through the Chicago Artist Coalition, as as well as an upcoming residency at Project Row Houses in Houston, TX. She was featured in the Chicago Tribune as Chicagoan of the Year in the Visual Arts in 2014.
Maria Gaspar is an Assistant Professor in the departments of Performance, Contemporary Practices, and Art Education at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.