Ten years ago, after printing personal photos of friends and family and of past gatherings and vacations, Sarabia decided to keep the pictures in his studio rather than archive them. He repurposed them and began to use them to mix colors while he drew or painted, also to practice his strokes before he took the brush to his works. What remained afterwards, with almost no room on their surfaces, were thick bursts of colors shaped into circular blobs by varying painterly gestures. Functional more so than intentionally improvisational, the compositions covered portraits and landscapes became messy experiments similar to the sloppy notes in a writer’s journal that come before they finish their essay. They were bits of ideas, incomplete thoughts—attempts to achieve something. In the small areas that were not covered, you could see locks of hair, tree branches, the tips of mountaintops, and snippets of bright color from a garment. Despite their erasure, you were made aware that behind these blotches were resolved images that someone behind a lens had captured.
Hundreds of these small photos piled up in Sarabia’s studio over time and became the perfect metaphor for the central tension of his practice—the sketches and scribbles that come before his finished drawings and paintings layered images now rendered unresolved. Sarabia then began to take these photos and make them into a new kind of work in its own right. Neither finished artwork or work in progress, these compositions, collectively, on paper and canvas, make up an ongoing conceptual project that buttresses the frictions that charge his other works.