Gabriel Barredo's previous works are known to have incorporated discarded items, often from the trash, to create startlingly striking sculptural pieces. The use of these everyday objects into his works becomes a literal recollection of history, gifting the works new life with a nuance of nostalgic quality, easily appealing itself to the viewer. His concentration on mainly sculptural works and large scale installation pieces gives hint of the artist's flamboyance and the detailed tactile and interactive nature of his works an extension of his warm and welcoming personality.
The current lot Tree of life bears his experience of his earlier works, but manifested with greater mastery. Barredo still has a very keen eye in identifying seemingly worthless items and transforming them into valuable jewels. However, instead of literally placing them on his work, he has extracted the physicality of the form and crystallised them into a more concrete form. In Tree of life, he resurrected and immortalised simple and beautiful shell shapes into the upward 'leaves' of the tree. The core of the work is centred by four hands cupping it with light bulbs installed in the palms of the hands to illuminate the work, forming a bright flame of life for the tree. The main medium used in his recent works and notably this one are the metals aluminium, steel, iron etc., lending strength to the structure. What makes this work extremely fascinating to the eye of the viewer is the kinetics of the work. The 'leaves' of the work are moved by axes on four sides of the work, creating a melodic score of movement, charged by a gyrating rhythm made possible by the mechanics of the piece. Details flow down the 'trunk' and 'roots' of the tree, which are textured by ripples of undulating metal, to the power plug which is etched with the facial features of persons. Once switched on, the sculpture becomes a moving visual equipped with a cacophony of effects characteristic of the artist's style.
This development of returning life to a disowned/disused object has become a metaphor for Gabriel Barredo's work. His assignment of kinetic energy into the sculptural piece immediately converts it from a staid and static sculpture and effectively liberates it, making it extremely interactive for the viewer.