By Ann Grenier
Born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Gabriela Gil has moved throughout South and North America her entire life. The constant migration has shaped her multicultural perspective and nurtured her interest in art to transcribe her personal experience using a unique visual language. Her first creative expressions were in ballet and modern dance at age 5 and later evolved to other mediums, including photography, sculpture, and painting. As a result, her work often references her multidisciplinary experience, particularly related to activating the entire body while staining a canvas; or carrying a gestural mark across a large surface.
As an autodidact, Gabriela Gil independently seeks professional courses, mentorships, residencies, and experiences based on her evolving needs. She finds her practice shapes more dynamically and authentically this way, especially when complemented with her academic experience in economics and nearly a decade working within the innovative and entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley tech start-ups.
SPARK A CONNECTION
Gabriela believes living in the present moment is the key to living in harmony with ourselves and our surroundings. For that reason, she is interested in creating paintings and site-specific installations that spark a connection with the immediate present. Gil does this by using organic shapes, flow, and vibrant colors that replicate nature and the Latin American soul.
Gabriela Gil just finished her first New York solo exhibition this past December. The NYC-based artist showed the first volume of her Time and Space series, displayed in-person and virtually. Gabriela explains, “Timing is important in this project because I purposely took advantage of the COVID-19 lockdowns to present this body of work in creative ways.”
“I’ve been working on this series for two years,” Gil says. “My previous work was more figurative. This new series breaks away from the figure completely making way to abstract work that explores line, color, and rhythm.”
In volume one of the series, Gil showed roughly 20 highly detailed miniature sets, inspired by the handmade nativity scenes she saw as a child in Latin America, each with small paintings. The miniatures were displayed alongside large-scale paintings from the series. Despite having worked on the project for years, Gil says that the COVID-19 pandemic re-contextualized her vision. She says that she leaned into the fact that people have been exposed to high digital content levels during the pandemic lockdown—the time during which she created the second half of the series. “We are all consuming content on this tiny screen,” she says. “So, the idea was to create a play on perception. A lot of my paintings in this series are big. I wanted the virtual exhibition itself to become an artwork.
“I thought if we can’t actually go somewhere physically, what is a way we can travel to a different place without really going?” she says. “And if I can only show the content virtually, on the tiny screen, then why not flip it on its head, go all the way and do something that would be harder to do in real life at a physical showing.”
Gil explains, “I wouldn’t say this series encompassed my whole Latin American experience. Maybe another way to put it is that I am exploring my roots or going back to my roots with Time and Space, to build from there.”
For more information on Gabriela Gil, visit gabrielagil.com