Gabriella Willenz’s works in photography, video and installation engage the tension between the construction of reality and its representation as natural and neutral. Her artworks critically interrogate how knowledge is constructed, delving into the mechanisms of how we get to know and relate to the world around us. She looks for covert displays of ideology as they manifest through social, religious, and political structures and addresses them in her absurd and uncanny interventions and re-stagings. With a background in theater, she incorporates theatrical means such as story, props, character, and actions to explore the performance of public and private institutions and the intersections between belonging and othering. She is interested in offering alternative perspectives with the aim of expanding the possibilities of identification.
Willenz earned her MFA from The University of California, Berkeley in 2019, and her BA from the Marc Rich Honors Program in Arts and Humanities at Tel Aviv University, Israel in 2015. Her work has been exhibited at The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Berkeley; NIAD Gallery, Richmond; Root Division, San Francisco; The California Lieutenant Governor’s office, Sacramento; Nuzha Gallery, Jaffa, Israel; and Almacan Gallery, Jaffa, Israel among others. Recently she was a fellow at the Art and Research Center at UC Berkeley, won the Eisner Prize in photography, was an artist-in-residence at Ox-Bow School of the Art, Michigan, and participated in Asylum Arts Bay Area retreat. She lives in Berkeley, CA with her partner and two children.