Gonzalo Lebrija is one of the most celebrated artists working in Mexico today who has exhibited extensively throughout Europe, the United States and Latin America. Lebrija’s multi-media approach toward art making has become highly regarded in his ability to simultaneously employ painting, photography, film and sculpture, combined often into one exhibition or series of work. At Kohn Gallery, the artist will present a group of nine new paintings on linen, entitled Veladruas (Veils), while in Gallery 2, Lebrija will present a single, dramatic sculpture of a Bic lighter with an unceasing, eternal flame. Gallery 3 houses an installation of Lebrija’s film, Via Láctea, exploring the fluid shapes and forms of tobacco smoke while exposing underlying social and political relationships related to smoking.
Sharing the language of Mexico’s contemporary art scene, Lebrija brings a strong conceptual and poetic character to his oeuvre. In his Veladuras (Veils), paintings depict triangular overlays of thinly applied oil paint, becoming darker and more complex as each layer interacts with the other. What appears to be a simple, elegant geometric abstraction is actually a complex composition based upon the folds of a paper airplane, alluding to the lightness, ingenuity and ephemerality of this invention. By extension, the viewer can sense an existential philosophy in Lebrija’s subtle and immensely beautiful abstract paintings.
In sculpture, Lebrija is equally sensitive in the depth of his metaphors and subject matter. The new three dimensional work he has created for this show is a poignant play on the eternal flame. Part of a recurring theme with Lebrija’s work, his subject matter spans two different dimensions– first, of a poetic nature and its connection to the contemporaneous, and secondly, the philosophical meaning in relation to the greater human experience.
Gonzalo Lebrija was first featured at Kohn Gallery in the group exhibition Chingaderas Sofisticadas in 2017 as part of the Getty Museum’s Pacific Standard Time LA/LA initiative, focusing on linkages in the art communities between Los Angeles and Latin America.