Daniel Gibson

Nature Always Wins


Almine Rech is pleased to present Daniel Gibson's second solo show with the gallery, on view from June 29 to July 30, 2022.

Nature Always Wins is Daniel Gibson’s second solo exhibition with Almine Rech and his premiere European exposition in Paris. Defined with a collection of paintings, Nature Always Wins delves into Gibson’s ongoing beliefs reminding us of cultural intimacies, circumvented fears, and the guarantee that accompanies nature’s cyclicity. 

 "Curiosity got the better of fear, and I did not close my eyes." A final utterance in the narrator’s inner voice from the last line in Jorge Luis Borges’ short story There Are More Things. As an exhibition Nature Always Wins is an extension of that remark; a pressing concession and survey describing a value-neutral confrontation of cognizance. Nature Always Wins doesn’t posit nature as an adversary to human existence. Instead Nature Always Wins warrants a kind of peace when understanding the course and strength of a force that will always recover and reclaim.

 A product of interlocutors from a wide breadth, Gibson adds to the semiotics of subjective discovery via paint on surface with influences ranging from German Expressionism, American Western allegory, and time spent with double-consciousness as defined by W.E.B. Du Bois. Like Nature, Gibson habitually with eyes open ameliorates; rising from sidelining and decrees subjugated upon otherness with opportunities –curious coevals persistent on defining realness and anointing who gets to win– because nature always wins. 

A predominantly blue painting, Turning Into A Cricket With Red Flower features a larger than life humanoid figure lying chest down with a palm flat along the ground with its elbow flanked upward, mimicking the angular body of a cricket while staring outward interrupting the fourth wall with a mask-like face accentuated with lines, colors, and creases. This posturing breaks the figures' repose appearing to push upward adding an advancing movement breaking melancholic stillness often associated with figuration in blue hues. Crickets have significance for Gibson as he held space in his studio within our collective stillness at the onset and months following the pandemic. The chirps of two crickets filled the studio with metronomic regularity offering an alliance and grounding—cohabitation was the only option.

Surrounded by an inflamed red pink sky, a fully bloomed sunflower with its head attached to a wildly fauvist-purple stalk appears to ascend like a comet dynamically intersecting Crossing Through The Meadow. Sitting centered and flanked on all sides with thick brown paint representing the sunflower's disk florets, a graphite skull is portrayed exposing the raw linen that lies beneath, hinting at a process revealed. Rocks piled along the foreground are personified with emblazoned linear profiles of human-like faces contouring the exterior curvatures. Healthy stout flowers share the same space amongst the rocks, adorning a hidden oasis of flat open floral fields and calm water. A silhouetted family of five conjoined by color stand huddled and small along the far away horizon line adding emphasis to this found land that offers respite.

A bold confluence of grayscale and color, the eponymous titled landscape painting Nature Always Wins depicts a monochrome war machine with its operator marching off of the painting's left edge. Churning up rocks, crushing plants, and leveling all in its pathway including a freshly wiped-out sunflower laying dormant and centered on the machine-made track. Yet the painting Nature Always Wins simultaneously illustrates nature actively abolishing the presence of the bleak war machine replacing each of its steps with fresh croppings of flowers and foliage. As a curious observer, a big red bloom with tightly fused petals stands with spindly stems adhered atop a formation of rocks watching over like a new kind of foreman. Even the deep purple sky gifts this reconditioned land a fresh sunflower with its stem still in the same atmospheric violet because nature always wins.

Nature Always Wins is a light reminding us of a path always taken when our perceptions and beliefs in anthropocentric chronology are interrupted. A flower begat from its bygone predecessor is born into existence. Cracking open as a buried seedling below the earth pushing onwards and breaking through soil. Feeding on electromagnetic radiation, growing and blooming, while fulfilling its five stages after gifting its successor. What appears as a grand crescendo with a finalé is in effect a reboot we can trust will happen again, as always because nature always wins.

— Nilay Lawson