Private View: Thursday 9th March 2023, 6:30 - 9pm London (London Bridge)
Brazilian artist Gabriela Giroletti’s luminous, elemental paintings are rooted in the emotional experience of being in nature. To stand amid her paintings is to enter a shifting landscape, to tunnel deep beneath the earth or to become submerged in a shimmering pool. Mingling Currents, her second solo exhibition at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, presents a new series of translucent, fluid forms that explore the sensations and movements of water – flowing currents, rippling light, weightlessness and depth.
While Giroletti’s work emerges from and responds to periods of introspection, Theodor Schwenk’s book Sensitive Chaos: The Creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air formed an important point of reference for this latest body of work. The book explores the subtle patterns and phenomenon of water and air and their relationship to biological forms – the title of the exhibition comes from a passage that Giroletti found particularly inspiring and which discusses the ways in which everything is interconnected and in constant flux. Keeping these ideas in mind, she used paint in a very spontaneous and vigorous way in an attempt to translate ‘some of nature’s potent energy’ onto the canvas. The result is a series of curved, stacked and overlapping forms that seem to simultaneously emerge from and sink beneath layers of translucent colours. Though we might glimpse something familiar in the shapes that we see, she retains a deliberate ambiguity to evoke a sense of slippage and wonder. ‘I try to dance between different possible meanings so people will read my work using their lived experience,’ she says.
While Giroletti has previously worked with deep, earthy colours, this latest body of work is both lighter in colour palette and atmosphere. Layers of translucent paint create an appearance of radiance while also allowing the viewer to glimpse through the surface to the marks beneath. At the same time, the canvases remain textured, full-bodied, almost gritty at times, as if capturing sand or stones tumbling through water. Bodies, like most real-world details, are stripped away, but we feel almost as if we are being pulled into or washed over by the paint. They’re paintings that seem to spill over their edges to envelop both viewer and surrounding space.
These contrasts between different depths and materialities, between stillness and movement are central to Giroletti’s approach to painting. She is interested in transitions and borders – the points at which things meet, intermingle, gain form or collapse into shapelessness. As she puts it, ‘I’m exploring the idea of whether the work can be painting and sculpture at the same time.’ This is most obvious in the works where she has extended the painted surface by attaching sculptural objects to the stretcher bar that appear like bits of rock, coral or shell, but even those without added elements, evoke a space far vaster and more tumultuous than the stiff linen that contains them.
It is this expansiveness that makes the paintings so compelling – they are caught in a never-ending process of transformation. Shape-shifting, churning and illuminated, what these works capture is not one moment or thing, but the pulse of life in all its strange brilliance.