Gabriella Sanchez works with painting, printmaking, video art, performance art, textiles, collage and collaborative art. Collaboration has become an “essential part of the ethos” of her art and an integral part of her practice. Writing and text are fundamental to her work with words used as the foundation for her abstracted portraits. In her paintings and prints, Sanchez blends graphic typography and figures drawn with bold lines, which are often composed of high-contrast Pop colors. This bold color palette, collage, and wordplay cemented her work as critical to the Los Angeles contemporary art landscape.
Sanchez received her B.F.A. from Point Loma Nazarene Universe. A commerceial artist, she did design work for the Obama administration, Nike, Planned Parenthood, and Toyota.
The early work of Sanchez was purely conceptual. “Now, I collage a lot which is about the intersection of past, present, (and) future, and the work continues to lean even more into abstraction.” This move towards abstraction is her way of grappling with language as structure and sensation.
She begins her paintings with wordplay by writing words and fragments from her own essays. She sometimes uses multiple typographies in the same painting or print. The use of font, format, color, and placement allows her to investigate words as symbols. She is interested in how words came to have meaning, and she shows nuances of meanings through the typeface the word is written in. Her 2018 “On the other hand” shows the word ‘hand’ in both sans serif and gothic scripts. Another example is the word ‘homes’. “Written in a sans serif typeface, you think of its more traditional definition. But that same word in a Gothic font brings more alternative uses to mind, like ‘homeboy’.
Sanchez uses language, bold graphics, and photographic snapshots – which she treats as fragments of reality – as structure for her work which begins and ends with her family. “I like keeping my work about my family. My mom and grandma are constantly making things; nothing goes to waste with them or me.” She describes her work as a collaboration with her father who died years ago. In one work she took archival photos of his things: a birthday card he sent to her when he was in jail; pictures in a book that he saved; cropped pictures of him when young, etc., collaged them digitally, and manipulated the color to a more feminine palette to make a multi-layered print. This theme of record keeping serves as a living memory for her father in other prints and paintings.
She incorporates community into her art, an example of which was her referencing one of the families in Chavez Ravine whose home was destroyed to break ground for the construction of Dodger Stadium. The Mexican Americans in this community were forcibly moved out of their own homes for this stadium.
She has exhibited her work at the 2020 Armory Show and at the Crocker Art Museum. Her first solo exhibition, “Partial Pictures,” is currently being featured at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach, California. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Crocker Art Museum, and in private collections.