My paintings address the intersections between humans and nature. During my early youth at the turn of the century (2001-2008), global warming and climate change caused by carbon emissions were deemed “theories” by the government despite extensive scientific evidence that showed otherwise. Our current administration has returned to this attitude of indifference as demonstrated by the president’s push for expanding the fossil fuel industry. As a millennial who will live to see many short- and long-term effects of climate change, I strive to find the sublime in nature, in biology, and in paint amidst this environmental transition.
The planet is a giant organism. I look to Donna Harraway’s Cyborg Manifesto as a point of reference from which to shape my own identity through an affinity for the non-human: my garden, the climate, and animals. My imagery and personal calligraphy draw formal parallels between the activities of nature and of humans on both micro and macro points of view. What unifies my bold, dark paintings is a focus on instances of humans’ intervention upon nature, from a personal scale to a global scale.
In my viscerally rendered paintings, I choreograph spatial and material oppositions that suggest a state of “inbetweeness” and suspense. I alternate between thick and thin paint application, high-pitched and local color, flat space and deep perspective – all of which are push-and-pull devices that serve to unite a pictorial world full of contradictions and paradox. In culturally shifting times, I see making a mark as an act of optimism and self-assertion, one that reflects my love for paint’s materiality, for the richness of the world, and for my process of examining the person I have become and am becoming.
Notes from a studio visit with Jan Avgikos in spring 2017:
"Walking into Gabrielle’s studio is like walking into a fiercely exotic, techno-futurist time zone – somewhere between here and there – that borrows from science fiction and ethno-anthropology on its way to over-whelming the viewer with sheer scale and material diversity. Whether in big muscular paintings, delicate etchings, digital photographs, or even gelatin sculptures, the futuristic and the oddly antiquated intertwine and energize to bedazzle the viewer with a sustained color-infused sensual overload. Motifs are shared, whether animal bones or intertwining wires, and are often arranged as contemporary 'detritus paisleys' in whose profusion we delight.
There is also plenty of undertow in the work. The paintings, activated by heroic scale, scream with energy: color is keyed to a constant high pitch, tidal waves of gestural imagery roar across their emboldened surfaces. The repetition of forms—things as simple as old square nails or metal staples—march in unison across surfaces and suggest an arcane hieroglyphics, like a cultural language gone extinct.
The sublime is front and center in Gabrielle’s work. It’s informed by Romantic painting, by Abstract Expressionism, by CGI cinema—oh, and let’s not forget “real life” dilemmas that rim our existence and threaten widespread extinctions. Don’t look now, but Gabrielle makes art for the Anthropocene—annihilation anyone?"