"When it was midnight, two cute little naked elves scampered into the room, sat down at the shoemaker's workbench, took all the work that had been cut out, and began to stitch, sew, and hammer so skillfully and nimbly with their fingers that the amazed shoemaker could not take his eyes off them." ("The Elves - First Tale" in The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Volume I, translated by Jack Zipes, Bantam Books, USA, 1988, p. 164).
On beholding the work, one's emotion is touched and imagination intrigued almost as if one is reading a fairy tale. Most of Gabriel Barredo's works are endowed with kinectic mechanics that give the sculptural piece a rhythmic and melodious sense of movement when switched on. The movement accentuates the sense of diversity of objects as it is difficult to focus on one single piece as it moves and interacts with its ever-changing environ. The sense of bewilderment is immediately overwhelming for an onlooker, as one keenly gazes at the various patterning of glittering objects forming and dissolving almost simultaneously. In sum, once switched on, the sculptor becomes a moving visual equipped with a cacophony of effects characteristic of the artist's enigmatic style.
The Tree of Life is a recurring theme for the artist which never ceases to inspire him, "Trees in whatever shape or form are magnificent and wonderful. We all see trees in different ways." (Artist's statement, April 2007), in his own words Gabriel Barredo has tersely explained his fascination towards this particular imagery. Confident in the uniqueness of each piece in the series, due mainly to the inherent nature of the creating process as well as the choice of materials, the artist has no qualms to re-work on the same subject as long as it still tickles his imagination; the work would never be a replica of the preceding piece nor an exact copy of the next in line. The present lot is precisely titled as Tree of Life - Reaching out that makes specific reference to the extended hands that form part of the standing support to the tree. "In one of the works there are so many hands that seem to be reaching out for something . They may be in my head reaching out to shelter us from the danger of an unknown element." (Artist's statement, April 2007), curiously not even the artist is absolutely positive of his own intended meaning but only attempts to explain what he thinks is flowing from his own mind.
The artist is much like the elves in tales who produces exquisite works and whose disposition and demeanor are as interesting as the works themselves,
"At midnight the elves came scampering into the room and wanted to get right down to work, but they found the nice little clothes instead of the cut-out leather. At first they were puzzled, but then they were tremendously pleased. They put the clothes on quickly, smoothed them down, and said:
"Now we look so fine and dandy,
no more need to work and be so handy!"
Then they skipped, danced, and jumped over chairs and benches. Finally they danced right out the door and were never seen again." ("The Elves - First Tale" in The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Volume I, translated by Jack Zipes, Bantam Books, USA, 1988, pp. 164-165).
Nevertheless, not unlike many of his fellow artists who dread explanation, Gabriel's poignant justification suffices an understanding of the scarce literature on his working process, "I am not profound with words and that is why I am a visual artist." (Artist's statement, April 2007)