The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center is pleased to announce the exhibition, curated by Jack Rasmussen, Gabarron’s Roots, that includes a careful selection of work by celebrate Spanish artist Cristobal Gabarron, completed during the first decade of this century (2001-2010).
The international and humanist vocation of the artist – who was born in Mula (Murcia) and whose life in Spain has been punctuated by extended stays in various countries, including the United States – is embodied by this exhibition in a deliberate return to his homeland, and to those aspects that have, in some way, influenced his professional and artistic career.
Gabarrón’s work is a convergence of influences, styles, and sifted movements, resulting from the extensive career of an artist who intentionally avoided current styles and trends in order to develop an expressive language that is both intimate and personal, with which to reflect reality and present time.
Gabarron’s Roots is undoubtedly one of his most authentic and representative exhibitions because it unites two of his most outstanding creative outlets, painting and sculpture; two passions that have occupied a large part of his life, and that remain intimately united. The black strokes on canvas or fiberglass appear interchangeably, where the edges of his sculpture are transformed into the lines of his paintings. This ambiguity is a game that envelops Gabarrón’s dual artistic nature.
One cannot ignore another passion of his, color; a passionate and expressive color that, like a stream of life, floods a great portion of his creations. The profiles and visual planes that form cabochon stones retain in their interior the chromatic burst of primary colors that have special prominence in his work.
Homenaje al Quijote (2005) and Circular (2010) are the two series included in this exhibition, along with the sculpture Veritas XX (2001). The first, resulting from his strong cultural roots, pays tribute to the most read Spanish literary work in the world, and to its author, Miguel de Cervantes. At the same time, the series is a declaration of his Spanish heritage; it is a study of the character types that are the most authentic reflections of a society, which Gabarrón has embodied in his men and women, referenced in those peculiarities and characteristics that have been made famous throughout the world.
The second series, Circular, is a synthesis of his universal training, fiberglass applied as a painting support, years of research, the desire for new modes of expression, and experiential exchange with other artists, such as Dennis Oppenheim, who unfortunately is no longer with us. All of this has resulted in the formation of a new period in his work that is characterized by the extensive and expressive use of material, which becomes skin, dirt or matter, depending upon his creative intentions. The chosen themes are equally capricious; preserved in his memory and in the depths of the earth, they subconsciously emerge to reveal fragments of his personal experiences, adopting the more representative shapes and forms of his work, as one can observe in the sculpture Veritas XX.
While the Circular Series is a novelty, previously shown only in the Valladolid museum, the sculpture collection Homenaje al Quijote once traveled to various locations throughout the world, including New York City, the Niemeyer Center of Avilés, the Miami Botanical Garden, the Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos (Burgos), the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, and the Museum of Modern Art in Gdansk (Poland), among other places.
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