GayLynn Ribeira

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GayLynn Ribeira

United States

A wise mentor once counseled me to “paint the things that you most deeply respond to.” For me that has always been people’s stories. The variety of human experiences have always been fascinating to me, and my goal as an artist has been to tackle the challenges associated with communicating those experiences to unfamiliar audiences. This is exemplified in my educational experiences, my mentorship relationships, and my artistic work.

In undergrad I studied illustration, which formed the basis for my focus on storytelling through art. At the same time I studied cultural anthropology which introduced me to the concept of an ethnography: a work, usually in written form, that tells the story of a culture. It exists to help people of different cultures understand each other, to build bridges of communication, and in so doing to foster respect and compassion. I resolved to do the same thing through my art.

As a capstone project I organized a group of five artists to travel to Ghana with me to interview and paint early leaders of the LDS church in West Africa. For four months we tracked down, interviewed, photographed, and sketched pioneers in Ghana, and then spent the following year preparing for our show, “Saints in Ghana: Portraits of Faith.” Several of the paintings from that show were purchased by the LDS Church and have been hung in meetinghouses and temples, and printed in publications worldwide.

Upon graduation, I wasn’t sure how to turn my passion for narrative painting into a career. I worked in various design and teaching jobs before landing my first solo gallery show in 2012 titled “Stages.” As a young mother of two I was interested in exploring the different stages of a woman’s life. I interviewed girls, teenagers, and women from different demographics and cultures in Sacramento to better understand the beautiful and challenging phases of life of real women in my community, and tried to capture those stories through painting.

The past several years, while my husband was finishing his medical training, my time has primarily been split between portrait commissions and art teaching, in addition to furthering my art education through various classes and workshops. At the end of 2021 I was honored to win Best of Show in the Pacific Art League's 100th Anniversary Show, and was offered a solo show there in 2023. I am currently creating a new body of work for this exhibition that will explore how every generation has had to adapt to new ways of learning, working, and maintaining relationships in the modern era. Each of these paintings will be an incorporation of beautifully rendered figures with bold, contemporary design elements, and will strive to tell stories and foster understanding.

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 16th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.