German artist and designer Gabi Gutwirth studied communication design at the University for Applied Sciences in Augsburg, Germany (Diplom-Designer (FH)/BA, 1999), then set up her own advertising agency where she spent 16 years as Creative Director and CEO, and worked successfully for global leading brands such as AUDI, Peugeot, and MAN Group.
In 2016, Gutwirth returned to her lifelong passion of creating visual art, while simultaneously earning her MFA at the Miami International University of Art & Design (2019) where she received a scholarship in summer 2018 and the MFA Visual Arts Outstanding Achievement Award in June 2019.
The artist has since exhibited her artwork in Germany, Miami, and New York, is a member and juror of THE LINE MIAMI Artist Collective, and Invitational Member Artist of the SHIM Art Network, Brooklyn, New York.
Media and Style
Gabi Gutwirth’s body of work is characterized by her classical education as a communication designer in which she was trained in different traditional crafts that she now combines. Her practice consists of precise ink drawings, photographs, books, writing, and collages she occasionally refines digitally or blends with printmaking. Even though she incorporates computer-based techniques, her main passion lies in perfected manual skills and crafts.
The artist considers her style to be clean, delicate and subtle. Many of her motifs cannot be understood from afar and can cause optical disorientation—some of them even seem to have a white surface from a distance.
Gutwirth describes her pieces as “slow art”. If her audience wants to learn more about the underlying narrative of a work, they have to take their time and come closer. This idea counters the rush of modern society and aims at deceleration and personal interaction.
The artist acknowledges her academical training as an important foundation for the execution of her creations, just like she greatly values the accuracy of the old masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer. Among her contemporary influences, Gutwirth counts Andy Goldsworthy, Elina Brotherus, Christian Jankowski as well as Olafur Eliasson.
Gutwirth’s overarching conceptual theme, named Connectivity, is based on her notion that all existence is connected and that every thought, decision, and deed causes a palpable reaction in the closed cycle to which we all belong. Due to this assumption, every individual has their specific influence on this cycle, even on a subconscious level.
Why does this matter?
Although this isn’t a completely new theory, it still appears unimaginable that change can be initiated by a seemingly simple action. Therefore, this hypothesis serves as a reminder for conscious responsibility within a synergy.
The artist perceives our natural world as the ideal source of inspiration to apply her idea of Connectivity. She states:
“I see nature as a paradigm, as the most complex and connected system on earth, while at the same time being the best synchronized. Humankind is a part of nature. Even though we are included in this structure, I feel that sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and view a subject from a distance to get a better understanding of it. Seen from this perspective, without human beings, nature doesn’t think: it instinctively reacts and evolves. For me, it provides the opportunity to study different behavior patterns among the participants of this system. In turn, my observations and visual interpretations help me think about myself and analyze the interplay within my environment.
After working on Connectivity for almost four years, I came to the conclusion that this concept also uncovers interrelations between identities. Connectivity and identity are reciprocally related. Depending on the characteristics of an identity, their deeds can be perceived differently by other identities. For example, the more familiar the nature of an individual is, the better they will be understood and accepted. Conversely, the less close one is with their social sphere, their behavior can lead to misunderstandings. In this regard, the basic idea of Connectivity reveals to a tangible model which is probably easier to comprehend.
Each of my projects helps me to develop a more refined overall picture of my findings.
Though many of my works reinterpret natural patterns or are recorded in situ, they sometimes might appear whimsical or abstract, because their correlation isn’t immediately intelligible. Their connection emerges then, when our senses become sharpened.”