ARTIST Gabriella D’Abreau’s highly anticipated exhibition “The Art of Abandonment” is a return to her authentic self.
His recent collection of works created over the past three years is his most personal to date; it came after five years of debilitating artist blockage. The visual artist and creativity coach has since rediscovered her joy in the creative process; by abandoning her life and her art to the chaos that surrounds us, she was able to create a collection unlike anything she had ever done. In his latest body of work which will run from September 27 to October 7 at Arnim’s Art Gallery, D’Abreau combines dramatic color, texture and movement through various abstract, figurative works and even pieces surreal. Bright, bold neons and highly saturated colors contrast with deep reds, purples and blues.
D’Abreau’s love for all things artistic began when she was a child. Later, her creative quirks and fancies led her to fashion design, but in high school she turned to acrylic paints. The visual artist whose inspirations include Vincent Van Gogh and Leroy Clarke had his first solo exhibition in 2012 which was followed by three group exhibitions between 2013 and 2015. After years of perfectionism and reflection, D’Abreau who has an art degree was stricken with artist block and lost all zeal for creating art which until then had been one of the greatest passions of her life. Creative blocking is not uncommon among artists; Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso fought and overcame the blockage of the artist. D’Abreau’s own experience was very frustrating and made her wonder if art was really something she was supposed to pursue further.
“I had put a lot of pressure on myself to do several exhibitions one after the other. It was a lot to produce such a large amount of work in such a short time without giving myself the break I needed between screenings to regroup and get inspired,” she says. “I also started to question art within our culture; is the artist someone who is really valued? Is his work appreciated? As artists, we all struggle with “comparison-itis” where we compare ourselves to others. »
D’Abreau began teaching art workshops and coaching other budding designers. She was also working as a freelance graphic designer, which sapped her creativity and energy. So when it came to working on her own pieces, she felt there was nothing left in her cup. At the start of 2020, Covid-19 was at the top of all news headlines and the world went into lockdown. D’Abreau was forced to get off the hamster wheel and slow down. It turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to him. After some soul-searching, she realized she was using graphic design to control herself on a day-to-day basis when she was actually seeking more freedom.
After a few years of blocking the artist, D’Abreau released his canvases and paintings and reconnected with his first love. She decided not to create art in her usual methodical way, but to focus on the enjoyment of the painting process. She also gave up control of the end result.
“I started to appreciate art more. At the end of the day, whenever I had time to paint, I just wanted the opportunity to do it,” she says.
Family life also played a role in reshaping his perspective as an artist.
“Before motherhood I was focused on organizing and methodizing my life. Motherhood shows you that you are not in control and I applied that to my art, I realized that there is nothing wrong with letting go and not feeling like you have to control every aspect of the process,” she says.
D’Abreau had previously put a lot of pressure on herself to be polished and perfect when creating artwork, but over the past three years she’s derived more joy from acting and making art. . His second solo exhibition “The Art of Surrender” will feature around 50 small to large pieces.
“This exhibit feels like a promise I keep for myself,” says D’Abreau. “As for the actual creative process, I took a step back from the planning and literally sat down and painted. For this exhibition, I just let the art come in and let it be that that it is…that’s why I’m so excited to release it because when I see each of the pieces, I feel the joy that I felt creating them.”
“The Art of Surrender” opens September 27 and continues September 28 through October 7 at Arnim’s Art Gallery on Tragarete Road, Port of Spain. On October 1, there will be a live artist talk at the gallery where D’Abreau will share more about his pieces and the creative process.