There are no limitations in Gabrielle Graessle’s art studio. Larger canvases, an abundance of materials, and the right mentality all lead Graessle to create art that is free-form, simple, and fun. Balla Balla, her newest exhibition currently in NYC at Freight + Volume, displays Graessle’s distinct style for all to see. Her pieces have caught the eyes of viewers everywhere with its ambiguity and open-interpretation.
“The essential thing is the simplification. It should be value-free. It’s just like how children express themselves in their language and in their paintings. I invite viewers to find that inner child again; there are many lost adults,” Graessle says. The Swiss-born artist is no stranger to the poster-styled painting found in Balla Balla as she’s been creating all kinds of posters since the ‘90s, obviously without the title Balla Balla. The name of her showcase is derived from a “nonsense” ‘60s song called Baby Balla Balla that “conveys [a] carefree, self-confident attitude towards life. Listeners feel comfortable in their own skin.”
The pieces in Balla Balla were illustrated through a large-format charcoal medium. A very unique style that invokes nostalgia, Graessle’s way of expressing has been a style that she has evolved thoroughly over the past seven years. She has been working on large 180 x 260 cm canvases to better encapsulate her ideas. As she puts it, “I like the big sized [canvases] where I can express myself more freely.” Moreover, she is very comfortable using a variety of materials – glitter, spray paint, charcoal, oil paint, and more is all fair game.
Many of the paintings from the collection remain untitled. Though this is the case, she commented this on the pieces that she did decide to name, “The titles of the works often result from the texts or fragments of texts on the paintings or puns that can be found on the painting. The texts or puns in the painting are aesthetic elements.” At the same time, “in the painting Baby Balla Balla, there’s no real meaning. There are short expressions, like a child’s first words. This lack of words opens your imagination.”
Graessle finds inspiration in many places – life, childhood, films, fashion, and nature –. She is heavily influenced by artists like Pipilotti Rist and Silvia Bächli as well as several younger artists. This fuels her work in Balla Balla, which you can view on exhibition at Freight + Volume in NYC until July 15th. “Everything and everyone I see inspires me,” she concludes.
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