Esteban Cabeza de Baca
July 2 - August 2, 2021
Gaa Gallery Provincetown
Gaa Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Esteban Cabeza de Baca opening July 2, 2021, at the gallery’s Provincetown location. Cabeza de Baca will present recent paintings and sculptures in his third solo exhibition with Gaa. Please join us for the opening on Friday, July 2 from 6 - 8 pm at 494 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA. A reception with the artist will take place at the gallery on July 30.
Deeply rooted in a sense of place, Esteban Cabeza de Baca connects to the landscape through observation and recollection, painting from his ancestral homeland in the southwest United States. Born in San Ysidro, California, Cabeza de Baca was fundamentally influenced by his experiences growing up on the Mexico and US border. Often working with his personal history, Cabeza de Baca draws from his ancestry as a person of Native American and Mexican descent with a paternal link to the Spanish conquistador-turned-spiritual-healer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Weaving narrative with observational painting and elements of abstraction and figuration, Cabeza de Baca’s work reroutes time and space to confront a colonialist history of erasure.
Painting the landscape from intimate spaces inside caves, along roadsides, overlooks, and naturally occurring shelters within the landscape, the land is experienced and rendered as an extension of the body. Working en Plein Air Cabeza be Baca’s paintings begin on-site at locations of specific personal, cultural, historical, and spiritual significance. On location, he creates quick impressions of the landscape, which are then expanded in larger iterations. From the initial painting, subsequent layers are built to evoke the accumulation of history and time. The final layer of painting is rendered to signal an awakening. Building layers of paint alongside thickly applied resist, which is later removed as the last stage of the painting process, Cabeza de Baca opens up literal and symbolic space. Producing webs, ripples, wrinkles, fissures, and intertwined layers, narrative and history are presented as a non-linear and spatial experience and actively resist normative constructs of time.
The recurring form in Cabeza de Baca’s work is that of the portal, which Cabeza de Baca describes as “...retrieval devices for lost histories.” In the large-scale acrylic on canvas paintings, “Espirales del Futuro postcolonial,” and La Llamada de la Familia, the portal becomes a threshold of time and place, a liminal space and site of transcendence between body and earth, history and lived experience. Through painting Cabeza de Baca seeks to restore bonds with nature and past, present, and future landscapes while also animating the thresholds between the material and spiritual worlds.
Esteban Cabeza de Baca is an MFA graduate of Columbia University and received his BFA from Cooper Union. Cabeza de Baca has completed residencies at Drawing Center Open Sessions residency, New York; the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, Netherlands; LMCC Workspace Program, New York; the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, New York; and a Byrdcliffe Residency, in Woodstock, New York. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Nepantla, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York; Esteban Cabeza de Baca, Gaa Projects, Cologne, Germany; Worlds without Borders, Boers-Li Gallery, New York; Unlearn, Fons Welters Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Verano (with Heidi Howard), Gaa Gallery Wellfleet, MA; and Bluer than a sky weeping bones, Gaa Gallery, Provincetown, MA. Group exhibitions include Royal Painting Prize, The Dutch Royal Palace, Amsterdam, Netherlands; New Acquisitions, Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam, Netherlands; The Complexities of Unity, Yale University; Home/Not Home, Colorado Convention Center; Water Is Life: Indigenous Peoples Day in Support against Dakota Access Pipeline, Salvage Station, Asheville, NC; The Narrative Figure, David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Scent, Dickinson Gallery, New York; and Manhattan TODAY, Leroy Neiman Art Center, New York. Cabeza de Baca currently lives in Brooklyn and works in Yonkers, NY.