By Eric Huang
Gabe Haro ’18 is a maker. A modern-day Renaissance man, Haro, often seen sporting paint-spattered pants and his signature two-tone hairstyle, dabbles in fields ranging from photo manipulation to mechanical engineering. In his art, Haro strives to marry his diverse interests, exploring the unique visual qualities of digital media, mechanics and technology.
More of a sculptor and a craftsman than a traditional artist, Haro ditches paintbrushes and pens in favor of X-ACTO knives, his laptop and the lens of his DSLR.
Haro’s work is marked by a mix of subtle humor, geometric precision and nods to popular culture. In his own words: “I approach my work with the consideration that technology is an inherent part of my life, and try to reflect this in the inquiry I conduct with my work.” In 2014, Haro undertook a street installation art project dealing with how people interact with the sudden surge of internet memes. Here, Haro positions cutouts of internet memes in real-life settings to explore the interplay between memes and communication.
“My meme installation project started, as much of my work does, from a strange mix of humor and contemplation,” Haro explains. “I thought bringing meme culture to a physical locale would be amusing, and began to discover the rift between physical and virtual, asserting how real both were in my life.”
In his Rauschenberg-esque series “Survey,” Haro overlays various photographs of cityscapes on top of each other, resulting in crisscrosses of urban shapes and geometries. Haro’s use of color in the series is sparse, but jarring; neon sparks of green and violet light up the collages.
“The main theme of this work is one I have worked with extensively,” he muses. “From the symbols that create our communication to the infrastructure that defines our sense of space, I utilize a wide variety of techniques synthesized digitally to depict these tensions.” Indeed, like his meme installation project, “Survey” is a way for Haro to interact and create dialogue with his environment, from the streets of San Francisco to the suburbs of his hometown in Austin.
“Survey” is currently on view at “Comma And…,” a juried undergrad art exhibition in the McMurtry Building for Art and Art History.
A chameleon at heart, Haro constantly adapts his art-making process based on the changes he sees in the world around him and in the artists that he studies. When asked about his biggest influences in the art world, Haro responded, “From the deconstruction of landscape into geometric compositions by Diebenkorn to the often irreverent, irrational and humorous work of Dadaists such as Duchamp, I try to keep myself open to incorporating and challenging examples of what art history as a whole has to offer.”
Haro takes his collective experiences as an engineer, a craftsman and an adventurer and melds them into a visual language that is uniquely his own. Always dressed in his Sunday best, viewing the world through octagonal sunglasses, Haro allows his unwavering style to shine in every part of his life.
Gabe Haro’s work can be found at studioharo.weebly.com.