A couple of weeks ago, our advanced photography students had the chance to meet guest artist Gabriel García Román. Gabriel is a queer and Mexican artist living in New York City. His family immigrated to the states when he was a child to live in Chicago.
His portraits are not just a portrait, but a physical object to hold and contemplate. He explained to the students how he is constantly questioning the inherent flatness of photography. Through this process, he has developed unique ways of portraying a person by weaving, folding, cutting, interlacing prints, or collaging.
With the Defining You series he handles the subject’s childhood experiences that were formative or conjure memories to relive. To achieve this meshing of past and present, he weaves photographs from the subject’s childhood together with their portrait, creating intricate patterns that inform distinct and complex personal identities.
In Queer Icons, he decides to portray the many facets of the gender and queer spectrum, a community that is generally under-represented in the art world. He uses the language of Renaissance, Flemish, and Christian Orthodox paintings to elevate these figures to that of an icon. The portraits were prepared using a photogravure and chine-collé technique resulting in a single and unique print.
At the end of the talk, students had the chance to talk one-on-one with the artist. They shared some of their images and contact sheets, and discussed progress on their final projects.
All photos: Roy Baizán