Growing up half of her life in Mexico City, Mexico and the other half in San Antonio, Texas, Dani Toral became very aware of her misplacement in both society’s standards. Toral rejected her body and was constantly challenged about her ethnic identity as she struggled to exist in a society so rigid in its expectations. It is through her work and her process in painting and sculpture that she is beginning to understand and explore the experiences she has had in her body as a Mexican-American woman. Through bold mark-making and vibrant color palettes that reflect her rich Hispanic culture, she takes ownership of her ethnicity by titling her work in Spanish, thus conquering the doubt she felt in her physical body and racial identity. Toral seeks to balance her appreciation and desire to reconnect with Mesoamerican History, Mexican Folk Art, and Mexican architecture, while dismantling the visage of whiteness that society expects of her.
Toral’s work ranges from small scale to large scale paintings, as well as sculptural objects and ceramic vessels that she creates with the intention to invoke a sense of warmth when experiencing the work. Toral is attracted to her most uncomfortable memories as a way to bring pleasure to that discomfort through subtle humor. She is also interested in the feeling of comfort, externally and internally, literal and emotional- a sense of fulfillment, like a bowl of soup or the embrace of a mother. Toral finds these moments of fulfillment through painting symbols and objects that stem from her mother culture, such as a traditional dish or a memorable landscape. Working sculpturally has been an integral evolution of her painting process. Through creating spaces of comfort and physical embrace – a home or an inviting atmosphere, she seeks to evoke an all-encompassing sense of familiarity and warmth in the viewer.