Occasionally, an artwork will catch your eye, causing you to pause and do a double take. Rarer a find, is a work that will hold your attention once captured, long enough to engage it. Walking into Beau Gabriel’s light filled London studio is a voyage into another’s world, and once inside you are transported. Surrounded by paintings hung on walls, studio props, history books and a tabletop covered in drawings of figures and forms, your mind begins its search. Flipping through snapshot memories of places seen and experiences remembered, you find yourself searching for that link, that specific thread connecting the painting you are looking at to where you feel you’ve seen it before. As your mind churns through its archives, you start to question what you’re looking at. Maybe it reminds you of another painting? A figures contour line distracts your eye by its similarity to Modigliani. Following this gesture your attention shifts to the curve of a figure’s elongated neck, which like magic, summons to mind the work of Allori, or perhaps it is more like Bronzino? No, you decide, it is certainly Parmigianino that you’re reminded of. Yes, definitely it is the latter but... And on and on you go, the painting morphing before you, all the while conjuring various impressions captured in another time. Then finally you come to the realization that painting you are looking at is not like another but something entirely different, an artistic work and technique unique unto itself. Or at least, this was the experience we when we first encountered Beau Gabriel’s work.
Beau GabrielCappellacci di zucca, 2021Oil on linen
83.85 x 66.1 in.
213 x 168 cm
While Beau’s technical, iconographic and formal artistic language may be grounded in the traditions of the Italian Renaissance, his paintings appear to live somewhere beyond our visual understanding of linear time. What is perhaps most striking in Beau's work is the balance he strikes between dream and reality. His paintings hold a timelessness beyond their technical and formal anchorage in the historic iconography and materials of the artworks that inspire him. His elongated bodies, rich pigments, and ideological landscapes collectively evoke both past and present-day environments in a composition that feels both personal and imagined. Beau brings so much to his work; symbolism, anecdotes, paradoxes, complexity, technique - enough to finally enable one to let go and become a spectator of the unique scenes he has composed. The influence Beau’s paintings have on the viewer, show some parallels to the effect that music or poetry can have. This feels fitting in light of Beau’s academic background in both music and literature.
Beau GabrielGirl Surprised by a Sprinkler, 2022Oil on linen
66.9 x 43.3 in.
170 x 110 cm
The same captivating and engaging spirit found in Beau’s work may also be said for Beau himself. American born, he has spent many years in Europe. Living and working in Paris, Florence, and now London, with such experiences comes many multicultural influences. Whether you are talking about music, antiquity, art, literature, food, or politics, Beau will have a reference point for discussion that will keep you on your conversational toes. Even his legal background finds a role in his work through the superb attention to detail and careful research given to both his painting and the materials he selects to use. Beau will repeatedly draw a hand or a foot to make sure he has captured the right movement and perspective he wants, turning his studio into a trove of anatomical studies. However, perhaps the most exciting element in all of this is that Beau is only just beginning. Already his stylistic voice as a painter is unique but where his talent, vision and drive will take him feels boundless.
Beau GabrielNancy in Straw Hat, 2020Oil on linen
59 x 55.1 in.
150 x 140 cm
Beau Gabriel was born in 1992 in New York City. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in literature following which he moved to France, where he worked in a law office, studied baroque oboe at Versailles, and ultimately took up painting. Coming to London in 2017, Beau obtained an MA from the Royal College of Art. He uses traditional notions of formalism and materiality to express his American upbringing, relationship to history, and authorial role as a painter.
Beau is currently working on his next solo show which will take him back to Italy (Turin) with Eve Leibe Gallery. That body of work will be site-specific, depicting a voyage through the islands of coastal Maine.
2014 - BA, Yale University
2019 - MA, Royal College of Art
Photo credit: Jean-Baptiste Strub
Beau GabrielTwo Figures in a Landscape with a Cake and a Martin House, 2022Sanguine on paper
11.8 x 9.84 in.
30 x 25 cm
BEAU GABRIEL: Cappellacci di zucca