GABRIELA GONZALEZ DELLOSSO STATEMENT :
When I first saw Adelaide Labille-Guiard’s (French 1749-1803) magnificent painting “Self-portrait with Two Pupils” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2008, I could not take my eyes off of it. It was clearly a masterpiece that both challenged and invited me to investigate its contents.
I was surprised that I had never heard of Labille-Guiard. As I stood there in awe of the painting, I became a little incensed at my ignorance of the subject of this great work of art. I started doing research and learned a lot about this painting and why it was painted and I was deeply moved by it. In her lifetime, Adelaide was dedicated to promoting women in the arts. It was amazing what she accomplished in the chaotic times of the French Revolution. I decided then and there that I would start a homage series, dedicated to historical women painters. I also decided, at the inception of this project, to use my image (self-portrait) as a vehicle to re-create these women and their stories. Presently, I have further developed the series into what I term as my “Homage Ode” project where I create illuminated manuscript style works on paper, where I write an original poem and paint an original work using the art and artistic elements of the particular woman I am honoring.
My goal is to resurrect these artistic women from the shadows of history and the depths of museum archives. Obstacles of the day whether it was lack of training (the premeire art establishments of the era, the Royal Academies of France and England, generally barred women from studying or exhibiting their art), family obligations or the restraints placed by society upon their practice of painting did not stand in the way of their craft. They were not the shining stars of art, but were the quiet undercurrent, that existed with little or no forum to rise above. Compelling, is what comes to my mind, in describing the female painters of art history. They are the story of humility and perserverance.
I bring to the table my creative journey and combine it with the power and emotion I encounter in the biographies of my female subjects. In a sense, I am an actress playing the role of women like, Remedios Varo, Angelica Kauffman or Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun.
Their tales can be told through a simple “fusion” self-portrait; a complex scene depicting a particular aspect of their lives or a “Homage Ode”. The resulting paintings are depictions of their inner strength, their dramas and their defiance of conventions.