Alcalá was born in 1990 in the Orange County city of Santa Ana, about an hour south of Los Angeles, and their work, which spans painting, sculpture, and performance, is directly influenced and responding to their lived experience a queer artist of Mexican American heritage growing up in Southern California. The L.A.-based artist’s work, in particular their paintings, draws on a vast array of references, including art historical movements like Fauvism and Surrealism, as well as the arts of Mexico’s Indigenous Huichol people, reality television, and the rituals and symbolism of Santería. What results is an imagined utopia populated by what they call their “non-binary girlies” that’s intended to imagine new possibilities for queer life.
Alcalá has previously exhibited with Night Gallery, having had a solo show there in 2020 and having participated in two group shows. They have also had solo shows at Mickey Gallery in Chicago and Deli Gallery in New York, and exhibited work at Ballroom Marfa in Texas, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. In 2020, they were an artist-in-residence at the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles.
In an email, Brian Faucette, Night Gallery’s senior director, said, “[Marcel’s] work never ceases to surprise and delight and it’s a privilege to witness, firsthand, their fantastical universe unfold painting by painting. It’s important to us to champion new voices from our hometown of Los Angeles and bring their work to a wider international audience, and we are excited to see Marcel, a born-and-raised Californian, charm and intrigue the rest of the world.”