We’ve all experienced a shift in our perception of time since the pandemic began. For many of us time now lacks coordination with our feelings about its measure and passing, in a disquieting, school-yard bully kind of way. The notion that two days have passed when in fact it’s been five is as vulnerable a feeling as air-born, sneering taunts. We’re also more aware of space, mainly the collapse of a six-foot span. Aptly, Gabriela Gil named her new art show “Time and Space.” The exhibition features abstract painting and miniatures and is on display for in-person and virtual viewing starting December 3.
An established painter and sculptor, Gabriela Gil decided to do a show of mixed medium to comment on how our lives are now conducted more frequently online. The miniatures are in part a way of addressing our tiny screens.
A Play on Perception
She also seems to know that on some level this small scale has become a twisted comfort. There’s a compounded sense of control in holding something already itself contained, like the small thrill (universal, I’m sure) one gets from putting a vitamin capsule between their thumb and forefinger. The show upsets this equilibrium. It juxtaposes the miniatures with paintings that are quite large. She notes that this “play on perception” is to make “the virtual exhibit itself an artwork.”
The paintings are abstract representations of rhythm and tempo and vivacious explorations of color. She drew inspiration from her Honduran roots for the palette and textures, and the shapes and energetic lines are inspired by her love of dance. But the work isn’t meant to be a biographical presentation, instead, she says, “I am exploring my roots or going back to my roots with ‘Time and Space,’ with the intention of building from there.”
And yet, while this series has its own meditations, there are common aspects throughout all her work. A central theme shown by the overlay of shapes is the desire for connection. This human instinct helps close the loop on an imaginary and psychological distance, the one of feeling remote and discrete, as we do among strangers. But Gil also plays with the idea of distance in the sense of coming into the moment. In a painting called, “Spring Air,” for example, she was inspired by the blooms of spring that she was missing while spending more time in her apartment.
Aside from instinct and human nature, there is the theme of language. On her website, she comments, “Line is lyrical. It represents language and direction in my art.” According to Gil, language is a clarifying force, shown by her inclusion of the word “direction,” if it conveys movement. The viewer is once again invited to contemplate space, distance and the actions we take to manipulate both. Of her relationship to the concept of space, she says, “Space plays a recurring role in my work, as I explore the inner space of memory and my personal experience in how paint occupies the surface.”
You can see the show by Gabriela Gil through December 20. To find out more and to view other works, go to her website or to Instagram. You can also read about other featured artists on “The Digest” by going here and here.