Function, by its simplest definition, is the purpose or task attributed to a thing. Form usually follows this intended use. In the workshop of Gabriel de la Mora, form and function intermingle. His studio is an experimental laboratory of information where compulsive collecting gives way to obsessive ordering, categorizing, and standardizing of discarded and mundane materials. In this pseudo-scientific space, objects for which the primary function has expired or been canceled are reclaimed by the artist and transformed.
Approaching his work as an archivist, de la Mora and his studio team extend their hands to the tasks of sourcing, analyzing, counting, documenting, and refining a whole host of objects, from discarded shoe soles and broken eggshells, to used offset printing blankets and sides of matchboxes. Each material bears evidence of human interaction—the points of contact, the passage of time, the wear and tear of life. Inside the workshop, the sounds of these transformative processes fill the air with a repetitive hum—the striking of matches, the trimming of leather shoe soles, the counting of eggshell fragments—as the whole studio bends as one body to the task of revealing the narrative within the object.
Like flecks of paint, these refined materials are applied in defined lozenges to form larger compositions comprised of inferred actions—the steps we traverse in our shoes, the mechanical beauty in the repetitive inking of a printing press, the careful consideration of subtle tonal variations in thousands of eggshell fragments, the light of seemingly innumerable, yet quantified, struck matches. By refining and de-contextualizing these discarded objects, de la Mora creates a visual syntax by which to understand the language behind the everyday object, to commune personally with the individual textures, layers, and histories distilled from multitudes of information that paint an impressionistic picture of life as an accumulation of repetitive actions and forgotten moments.
Gabriel de la Mora (Colima, Mexico, 1968) lives and works in Mexico City. He first trained as an architect and subsequently earned his MFA in Painting from the Pratt Institute, NYC. De la Mora’s work lies in questioning and experimenting with the interstitial limits between painting, drawing, and sculpture. De la Mora’s work has been solo exhibited in museums the world over, including at the Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico; N.C. Arte, Bogota, Colombia; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, Mexico; Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA; and the Centro Cultural Bastero Kulturgunea, Bilbao, Spain. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC; Colección FEMSA, Monterrey, Mexico; Fundación Jumex, Mexico; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; El Museo del Barrio, NYC; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX; and the Albright-Knox Gallery, NY; among others. In addition, the artist has been honored with many awards and invitations to participate in biennials and is the recipient of the Fulbright-García Robles (2001-03). (f) is the third exhibition of the artist in Galería OMR.