Gabrielle Dobrzelewski (born 1999) is a skilled painter and draughtsman from Philadelphia, PA. A recent graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, her artistic journey has already left its mark on the local art scene with exhibitions in Philadelphia and Delaware.
Dobrzelewski's work is not just about representation, but a deeply personal exploration of emotions and themes. She positions herself as the primary subject, using her own likeness as a canvas to delve into narratives rich with emotional resonance. Her domestic space serves as the stage where the quiet yet powerful dramas within her creations unfold. By intensifying the colors in her pieces, Dobrzelewski doesn't just paint; she crafts an emotional atmosphere, inviting viewers into a world ripe for introspection and meditation.
We talk to the artist who was recently featured in the Chroma Exhibition with PxP Contemporary about her work and story.
What inspired you to create the work you showcased in the 'Chroma' exhibition?
What initially inspired me was the emotional state I was in at that time, coupled with film and editorial imagery I was looking at. The feeling that I wanted to express in the image is the feeling of wanting to sink into myself, and to melt into my surroundings, as well as a state of introspection I was in while experiencing those emotions. In regards to the titling of the piece, I feel like asking the viewer a rhetorical question frames but also opens the images up for them to further engage with it. I also am interested in imagery of the body and its relationship to the ground, and how it can be read as someone sinking into the blankets, or someone blooming from them. Having an overarching feeling while still remaining ambiguous is something that I attempt to create in my work.
Can you share some insights into your creative process? Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to your color choices?
My process when it comes to creating images starts out intuitively - a lot of times I have a certain gut feeling that drives me to make a piece. I try to consume a variety of media, and let it sink into my subconscious. My work is informed heavily by specific strong emotions or experiences that I’ve had, and I have found that as I create a piece that the external influences begin to connect to the internal ones.
Color, then, is something that I utilize as a tool to augment the emotional atmosphere of a given image, as well as potentially informing whatever narrative is at play. Choosing the color feeling of each piece also is a very intuitive thing for me – some images just feel green, or red, and so on. However, in regards to inspiration I’ve been looking more at both contemporary/art-historical painters that veer more towards symbolism and dream/myth imagery – such as Odilon Redon and Mary Herbert.
How did your medium of choice enhance your ability to convey the color in your artwork?
Working in colored pencil lets me play with color nuance and layering in a way that is semi-similar to working in oil paints, however it allows for a degree of crispness in the image that feels different from oils. Working in the medium is more high stakes as you can only push a drawing so far before its ruined, which forces you to have to be as direct as possible with the colors – whichi find in turn helps preserve their intensity.
My favorite brand to work with is the Derwent Chromaflow pencils, as those pencils specifically let me get the bright colors I desire while still being buttery and layerable.
What do you want viewers and collectors to know when interacting with your art?
When it comes to the pieces I make, despite them coming from a personal place, I also want within them to exist a space where you can self-insert in some way. I’m a believer that poetry is a clearing but not an answer, and I don’t set out with the intention of resolving anything, but rather pointing to it and making space for it in the works I create.
What are you currently working on and looking forward to this season?
With this new body of work that I’ve been diving into I’ve been exploring color and light but more through the frame of symbolism. I’m getting more interested in mythology, but how I can use it as a frame to convey my lived experiences. I feel like I’m still expanding my “visual world” in regards to the objects and people I paint, and that’s been exciting to me. In regards to the season, I’m just excited to show work and to see other people’s work. To get inspired and meet interesting people.