Featured Image - Sweet Oblivion by Mark Gabriel
[page_title] The Magic of Baja[post_date]
By Robert E. Wood
There is an instant love for this place where the desert meets the sea. When artist Mark Gabriel moved to Baja Sur, “I had a few misconceptions about the place, and as it turned out, myself as an artist. I knew coming here would inspire a renewal in my painting, and I wanted to dig into the local folklore and find cultural narratives I could translate onto canvas, but I was unaware of the depth of magic I would encounter.”
A long-time salvager, Gabriel found himself collecting debris that washed up on beaches around Todos Santos: wood that appeared to come from ruined boats, or bits of someone’s life torn away in a hurricane then returned to shore. “I didn't realize they would be so important to my growth as an artist until I started using them as canvas to paint on.”
Gabriel's iconic paintings of whales soon emerged. “These majestic beasts loom large down here; it's impossible not to be drawn into their deep watery world. The whales came to me in dreams, and they were no longer bound by the ocean; they seemed to be flying.” What started as small works on salvaged driftwood blossomed into large-scale paintings, often 4 by 5 or 6 feet.
In early 2019 Gabriel joined the impressive roster of artists at Pez Gordo Gallery, and his work graces the homes of collectors in Cabo, as well as internationally. “By allowing myself the freedom to move from the dream whales, to paintings of ranchero musicians and adobe towns folk, and then to the newer works which feature socialites of the glamorous 60’s—70’s jet set age, I realized I'm still exploring the themes of mythological creatures in our modern world.”
Gabriel credits his recent success to his new 'Pueblo Magico' home. “I'm surrounded by a supportive network of friends, artists and collaborators. My partner in life, Jessie Wallace, is at the center of my world. Together we're building a studio and gallery that will enable us to grow and continue our love affair with Baja Sur.”
It's a love affair and a life set beneath expansive oceanic skies filled with flying whales, while the retro jet set party to the sounds of old world mariachi music, and each scene is imbued by the all-encompassing magic of Baja.