Gaby Collins Fernandez

I am an abstract painter. The work I am submitting for this application is varied in dimension and medium, and it was all made in the last 15 months. It is all part of the same body of work, but the individual works can be divided into three different formats: one set of small paintings on linen and paper that all begin with a 11×14” rectangle; one set of larger paintings that begin on 22×30” paper; and one set of large (over three feet) paintings that have no set dimension and begin with a fabric or material choice. I have organized the work in a roughly chronological manner, making interruptions to highlight correspondences between the works. 

Stacking, conceptually and visually, is important to the work. The stacking of colors in a gradient. The stacking of kinds of forms or lines on top of each other. Placing text within a gestural or painterly field. Stacking forces elements to be read as distinct and layered; visual experience comes from the particular layer being observed. In the work, stacking happens up and down, as abutted halves, and projected outward from the surface. As a strategy, it allows for me to equalize categories: color, surface, text, gesture, material—all function as kinds of language within the work. 

For this reason, colloquiality is also important. I want the words in the work to refer to a body, or a speaker, but not to a specific individual. The word has a timbre, a speed and it comes from a mouth, but I don’t know whose mouth it comes from. It is a kind of dangling speech. Likewise, gesture and color in the work don’t describe my body or an observed light condition, but create material conditions for a moment of speech. 

The logic of stacking is the logic of touch, materiality. Specifically, a kind of surface roughness or gumminess (attention flypaper) can contrast with the directness of cuts and lines. The work does its work through collage (syntactical organization of different languages), but what I seek most strongly is for an entwining to occur. 

This is the emotional center I desire. A moment of surprise, an embrace, a particular quality of touch. 

The variability of the format of the work is useful because I feel very much in the middle of this enterprise. It has been a struggle to make larger work that isn’t directly referential to the body. Because the space of the smaller work is head space, projected space—a more abstract space, I have been able to loosen up and stay flexible while little.