Gabriel Rico is an established Mexican contemporary artist known for sculptures and installations that bring together seemingly disparate found, manufactured, and natural objects.Read More
Born in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico, Gabriel Rico originally studied to become an architect, graduating with a BA from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, Guadalajara, in 2004. This influenced him to import into his art the principle of construction that requires mixing various materials to create structural coherence and suggest form.
Gabriel Rico's current body of work focuses on combining disparate natural and unnatural objects in precise compositions that are structured to explore their relationship and broader context.
Making nods to both post-Surrealism and Arte Povera, Rico draws upon a broad range of materials. The artist collects and incorporates into his work natural objects—including rocks, branches, neon, taxidermy specimens and preserved insects—and discarded and manufactured cultural objects such as ceramics, CDs, glass bottles, phones, and various sports balls. These are combined with neon shapes and more personal items from the artist's past.
Rico uses equations or formulations in arranging the objects that combine to form his artworks. In works like II Mural (2020) commonplace objects are arranged on a white wall with various graphite symbols and arrows creating eloquent and seemingly legible equations and correlations that connect them.
This is done more subtly in Gabriel Rico's Nimble and sinister tricks (To be preserved with out scandal and corruption) I (2018), where the artist brought together contrasting natural and man-made objects, held in place in a single sheet of glass. The glass in this particular artwork was the cause of some media attention after it was accidentally shattered in an incident at ZONAMACO 2020 in Mexico City.
An explanation of the exact logic within the combination of such objects in these compositions is never immediately apparent. Instead, they encourage the viewer to reflect on the materials and the juxtaposition of objects with the elements that compose them, as well as their broader significance, both within Mexico and a global context.
These various compositions are created as environments to generate deeper discussions of the relationship between nature, myth, architecture, and contemporary human life. Gabriel Rico's Aspen Art Museum solo show The Discipline of the Cave (2019) created a portrait of contemporary life by fusing natural forms—shrubbery, cacti, and taxidermy animals—with kitsch such as cola bottles, fake sausages, dice, and a skeleton.
The Discipline of the Cave, the title of which is borrowed from one of Plato's philosophical concepts, represents how Gabriel Rico's work is guided by the artist's fascination with philosophy and science. The resulting works examine themes ranging from invisible sound spectrums to the modern production and consumption of food.
Gabriel Rico's artworks have been exhibited in institutional and gallery shows across the globe. His work can be found in institutional collections including the Arizona Art Museum, Phoenix; Sinaloa Art Museum, Culiacán, Mexico; Pérez Art Museum Miami; and Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands.
Selected solo exhibitions include Gabriel Rico: Nature Loves to Hide, Perrotin, Paris (2020); The Discipline of the Cave, Aspen Art Museum (2019); DEAD DEAD LIVE DEAD, ASU Art Museum, Phoenix (2017); ZEA MAYS, Museo de Arte Zapopan, Mexico (2015); SUPERPOCICION, City Museum, Guadalajara (2014); B @ V, Sinaloa Art Museum, Culiacán, Mexico (2013).
Selected group exhibitions include The Quintessence of Consciusness, Royal College of Art, London (2020); Golden Hour, Le Musée Mobile Nouvelle Génération, Lille, France (2019); Reconstrucción, an Abraham Cruzvillegas Project, Museo de Arte Zapopan, Mexico (2016); Artesano / Artista 3.0, Museo de Arte Popular, Mexico City (2013); Firulais, City Museum, Guadalajara (2008).
Gabriel Rico lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2021