“A Day in the Life” with Victoria artist Gabriela Hirt

The work of Gabriela Hirt has a sense of breaking through.

Undercurrents of darkness and even hopelessness are confronted with irrepressible joy. In many cases it is not clear which is dominant, creating a fascinating tension in her paintings.

Gabriela Hirt cares deeply about difficult, perhaps unsolvable issues, which she approaches with an undeniable optimism and faith in human nature. This aspect of her character is strongly reflected in her work.

Harsh black lines and almost graffiti-like blocks of colour may reveal figures that are both dancing and fighting for their lives. Pastel pinks and cornflower blues are applied with a raw physicality that underscores their simple beauty with rough edges that bite and even cut.

Relationships between colours, elements and themes are implied and broken down in a single painting.

Her work has a sense of a challenge, both to herself and her audience. Subliminal elements which have a strong emotional force are integrated with explicit themes that address social and environmental issues. The viewer is thereby invited to explore the connection between subconscious feelings and an intellectual understanding of the world.

Ever experimenting and pushing her own boundaries her work is constantly evolving in both insight and playfulness, ever deeper into darkness and joy.

Written by Tanya Bub, friend and fellow artist

Gabriela Hirt
“Conjunction” is the title of this 60x80in mixed media piece, a diptych, that tells a whole bunch of stories all happening at the same time for the stylized people in this urban space. How collective and individual experience, guilt, history and culture influence our present capacity to connect with each other very much interests me in my work.
I have piles of sketchbooks and love trying out new colour combinations, marks, lines, and subject matter in intuitive as well as intentional studies. Journaling is a big part of my daily practice. I write down art-specific
happenings, aha-revelations that come to me from experimenting or simply what moves through me on that specific day.
Gabriela Hirt
This picture is from a recent photoshoot in my studio. I finished a new series of abstracted human figure-obsessed paintings, which soon will be up on my revamped Website. The colours are simply delicious to me. I love high contrast and strong limited colours! Stay tuned, and sign up for my e-mail list at https://www.gabrielahirt.com/contact if you want to be the first to check it all out!
This was such a fun project: Painting an old whiskey barrel for the barrel art project by Odd Society Spirits. My “Spirited Dancers” now hang out in the tasting room of this East Van craft distillery and bar on a special rack together with artsy barrels by five other local artists.
My studio is small, canvasses are big, which means I paint outside when it doesn’t rain. In my backyard you can see me schlepping paintings in and out all the time. Particularly the messy splattery first layers I like to do with the piece laid out flat on the ground with lots of space to walk all around. This is probably my favourite stage of a piece, when I am simply playing, using all kinds of different application tools, and the air is filled with possibility and surprise.
Gabriela Hirt
My studio is my sanctuary. It is small, but it’s mine, and it holds all the tools, colours, sketches, images and sayings I gather for inspiration. Lately, I have been playing around with paper mache 3-D figures. I want to have my painted figures leave the canvas and at the same time train my hands to better internalize the shapes of the human body in motion.
Sneak-peek at parts of my recent paintings, which explore human connection and disconnect in urban settings through abstracted figures in movement.
Gabriela Hirt
Painting large not only is the definition of fun to me, but it also allows me to use my whole body and access the deeper somatic wisdom available to us — once we bypass the noisy executive critic that can be so stifling to our raw expression.


Which hood are you in?

I live and work on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen speaking people aka Victoria, BC

What do you do?

Painting is my passion, preferably large, messy and intuitively. I feel most accomplished when I completely step into the unknown in my process and get rewarded not only by a painting I like but by new insights about myself and human nature.

What are you currently working on?

In my studio, I am working on a painting collection called, “Urban Movement”, continuing my exploration of collective and individual trauma through the bodies of abstracted human figures in relationship with each other. This new collection will soon be up on my revamped Website, which I am hoping to launch by February.

Where can we find your work?

From January 3-30, 2022 a selection of my “Inside Out” painting series is exhibited in Vancouver at the Art@Bentall Gallery, 595 Burrard Street. In Victoria, my art is available at Gage Gallery on 19 Bastion Square, and online at Gage Gallery, as well as at The Massey Sales Gallery. You can find most of my work on Instagram, Facebook and on my website.



About Demian Vernieri 489 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.