Gabriel Molina is a recent graduate of the University of Alberta’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design program. Working in painting, sculpture, as well as video and photography allows him to alternate scale and explore different aspects of the same subjects, using similar themes and visuall cues across all mediums. The figurative paintings are made with oil and acrylics, and depict everyday scenes which a focus on moments of distraction, apathy and hedonism. These scenes are of the ordinary lives of his friends captured through candid moments, transformed through the use of acidic colours and heavy atmosphere to reflect an altered state.
These same subjects and people were also explored in highly realistic hand-carved sculptures. Their style of rendering combines present day subject matter with classical handling creating a contemporary take on traditional portraiture. Spray-painting the busts relates to the need for the current generation to make its mark and build off of the old. Recently he’s also been working on a series of abstract photographs and videos of screens. The screen as a persistent source of distraction is a common feature of his paintings and has branched off into a new body of work, exploring the screen as a material that can be manipulated. The photographs and videos create strong visual effects such as optical illusions and their presence and hypnotism speaks to the fundamental nature of these screens as attractors of our attention.
“Every medium I work in gives me different results because I begin by playing. I play with paint, I play with cameras, I play with clay and plaster to see what kind of results I can get. With playing, I learn about the inherent properties and that informs how I will express myself through that medium. I’m always on the lookout for new phenomena and expressions of these medias. This exploration led me to different bodies of work that look like the work of different artists, but they each relate to specific themes which I’m interested in exploring.This leads to series within series which relate and play off each other through shared motifs such as apathy, intoxication, distraction, and technology, which are used to enhance the mundane. These feature prominently in western culture, and these vices are playing a very important role in shaping how our generation sees and deals with their world.”