From a black flower that looms over the ocean as its dendritic petals dip into the surface, to the swerving shoreline on which resides a figure sporting a similarly shaped white blossom as his head, all lines eventually coalesce across Into the Sea (2021) [pictured]. On view at Almine Rech, the painting is one of 15 that comprise Daniel Gibson’s latest solo show, “Ocotillo Song”. The titular ocotillo flower, which grows between the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, evidently has a reputation for ignoring man-made borders.
Across these scenes, bright, saturated hues settle into contours of undulating landscapes; it’s through such scenic backdrops that Gibson explores subject matter relating to family ties, his broader ancestry, and legacies tied to art history. A second-generation American of Filipino descent, Gibson’s approach to his composition is as if he were about to actually put down roots—which, in a way, he is. Look no further than For BIHA (2021)—“biha” meaning grandmother—which features a woman walking through a forest of larger-than-life flowers. Strawberry Fields (2021), meanwhile, invokes the artist’s mother, who spent her youth picking strawberries in Salinas, California. Here, she takes a wide and powerful stance—as implacable as the mountain range behind her—with her middle finger extended.
Daniel Gibson, Into the Sea, 2021. Oil on linen with Sand Dollar, 38 x 46 inches. Courtesy Almine Rech Gallery, Photo by Dan Bradica,