For Gabriel de la Mora the artwork already exists before the artist, and therefore it is not his role to either create or destroy, but merely to transform. By repurposing debris salvaged from flea markets and antique shops, de la Mora creates alchemical works that both prescribe to the object specificity set by the precedents of Minimalism and Abstraction in terms of form, and quietly engage with the figurative through their content.
By Dimitris Lempesis
Photo: The Drawing Center Archive
Since the early ‘00s, Gabriel de la Mora has collected detritus and ephemera ranging from hair to found photographs, shoe soles, matchboxes and found paintings. He transforms these objects, to call attention to their original uses, while also making Conceptual investigations into the nature of art. In “Sound Inscriptions on Fabric”, his solo exhibition at The Drawing Center in New York, an installation of 55 pairs of found speaker screens, each of which carries the “drawn” imprint of dust generated by the sound of countless voices, songs, commercials, news broadcasts, and static that passed through the fabric screen during the speaker’s life. For the exhibition, De la Mora studied all of the 55 pairs of speaker grills with obsessive inquisitiveness to uncover the unique underlying architecture of each one. Sound Inscriptions on Fabric demonstrates De la Mora’s distinctive approach to drawing as durational and readymade rather than an act of immediate creation by the artist’s hand. After studying architecture at the Universidad Anáhuac del Norte, Gabriel de la Mora began his career as a practicing architect. After five years, he redirected his work, focusing instead on visual art, and in 2003 he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting at Pratt Institute in New York. Much of de la Mora’s work focuses upon the intimate functions of objects that, outlasting their usefulness, have been discarded. By repurposing found things, de la Mora points to the actions of time upon the object. In his collected chips of paint and fabric painted ceilings, for example, he suggests that the painting came into existence long before the artist came into contact with it and placed it upon a canvas. In this way, he is also drawn to the visual and affective power of archival collections.
Info: Curator: Brett Littman, The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, SoHo, New York, Duration: 15/7-2/9/16, Days & Hours: Wed & Fri-Sun 12:00-18:00, Thu 12:00-20:00, www.drawingcenter.org