Press Release

For her debut exhibition in New York, Kenyan-born painter Gabriela Trzebinski will present six recent paintings along with an installation titled "The 'Matatu' Project."  

Trzebinski, a self-described "white girl born in an African country, Polish father, English mother, British passport, living now in Texas," uses her multi-ethnic background as a backdrop for her faux naive paintings.  Black Africans figure prominently in her work, giving form to Trzebinski's exploration of diverse social and political issues from cultural dislocation to transgender identity and illegal immigration.  

El Papa Murio por Nosotros en la Frontera, for example, depicts a dying figure beneath a high barbed-wire fence. Cross-pollinating her experience of Africa with the current immigration debate in the US, Trzebinski imbues the narrative with a mythic sense enhanced by flattened perspective and stylized primitive rendering. Similarly, the compressed space in 22 of 4000: The Lost Boys of the Sudan (2006) engages a folk tradition of storytelling. Depicting the arrival of 22 Sudanese boys at a Texas airport, figures, baggage, planes, and buildings appear on a single plane against an unusual peach colored background.

The show will also include The 'Matatu' Project; a series of found wood strips painted with names appropriated from Kenyan matatu minibuses.  The installation, part of an ongoing project, will feature over 300 strips vertically installed along the perimeter of the gallery. Borrowing from pop culture and gangsta rap, the minibus names such as Niggaz, Rev 14:6, and Thuglovin represent the collision of African and global culture. Trzebinski's simplistically painted "sticks" are intended as personalized totems, and like her paintings, comment on the fluidity of culture and identity.

Trzebinski currently lives and works in Houston, Texas.

Exhibition Checklist

El Papa Murio por Nosotros en la Frontera, 2006
Oil on canvas
97 x 59 1/2 inches
GTp 29

Jesus Wept, 2005
Oil on canvas
46 3/4 x 40 3/4 inches
GTp 27

Untitled (Scratched Net), 2004
Oil on canvas
85 1/2 x 47 inches
GTp 7

Untitled, 2006
Oil on canvas
60 1/8 x 60 inches
GTp 31

22 of 4000, The Lost Boys of the Sudan, 2006
Oil on canvas
68 1/4 x 93 inches
GTp 30

AIDS Hospital Opening with Some Coca-Cola Funding Donated by Action for Christ World Ministry, 2006
Oil on canvas
33 x 100 inches
GTp 28

Little Bird, 2002
oil on canvas
10 1/8 x 8 inches
GTp 25

The Matatu Project, 2002-2006
oil on found wood
installation variable
GTs 1