‘My art is a never-ending narrative about how the real and virtual worlds are merging.’
Hello! I’m Gabriel Halo and my roots can be traced back to Eastern Europe although I spent many of my childhood years in Atlanta, USA. Growing up in western Belarus during a period of the revival of Belarusian national identity, I was exposed to the resurgence in the history and folklore of the region. My conservative family were great supporters of traditional values, as well as being lovers of artistic expression (my grandfather was the famous, award-winning actor, Mikhail Astangov) so I grew up appreciating all art forms. I was also inspired by classical motifs from ancient mythology, universal archetypes, and religious symbolism, all of which I still incorporate into my art today.
When I moved to a small suburb in the States as a boy, I was struck by the stark contrast between the progressive society I found myself in and the complex socio-political background of my homeland. When my Belarusian heritage clashed with the radical ways of thinking I met in the USA, an internal contradiction arose that provided the impetus for my artistic development. This intense contrast of cultural influences led to a kind of creative reaction within me – one where the duality of the two worlds collided into a magnificent explosion.
Since then, my artistic impulses have found an outlet with the use of ultra-high resolution digital tools. I like to fuse archetypal icons and cyber imagery as a medium for illustrating how ancient symbolism meets modern-day reality. The rapid advancement of digital technology and its profound effect on humanity is a major influence on my form of self-expression and can be found within my work. It is my contribution to the conversation about the rise of transhumanism and man’s struggle to hold on to his unique identity in this age of rapid technological advancement.
In the words of the artist, ‘Singularity is not a possibility, it is an inevitability.Transhumanism is our near future.’ This development in his thought processes has come about through his desire to find new ways to express himself and offer a unique narrative to the world. Each image grows from a creative state of mind where complex metaphors, old masters, and modern digital trends permeate his internal dialogue. His extremely detailed ultra high-resolution art works are composed of millions of objects that change depending on the distance between the observer and the picture. This kind of ‘neural drifting’ means that an image warps and morphs to reveal different aspects depending on the viewer’s proximity. The closer one gets to each piece of work, the more incredible details can be seen, like microscopic manifestations of neural activity.
The result is a collection of works packed with symbolic references to humanity’s philosophical and religious imprint in the face of emerging artificial intelligence. Much of his art refers to the premise that we are on the verge of a technological singularity, where the machine is no longer just a big calculator but a real, intelligent organism that lives according to its own principles. The artist attempts to find the elusive role of the individual in this world of the universal digital unconscious.
In Halo’s art, we observe the merging of man and machine in a symbiosis, where primitive archetypes and classical art engage in an endless dialogue within a modern context. The work Angels with a lamp, for example (considered one of his best works), could be a depiction of a biblical scene found on the facade of any Gothic cathedral, although the architectural elements are illuminated by a modern overhead desk lamp. As you zoom into the image, you realize that it is made up of millions of emojis, hashtags, hearts, and other contemporary symbols of the digital era we live in.
Another piece, ‘David’, represents the Renaissance standard of male beauty, as found in Michelangelo’s renaissance masterpiece. Closer inspection reveals the image is now presented in an innovative digital format, composed of millions of clambering bodies and three-dimensional threads.
Another work that combines religious traditions and technological advances is that of ‘Don Meta’; a tongue-in-cheek reference to Hindu, Buddhist and Catholic figures. In the image, Buddha finds enlightenment with a smartphone while the Virgin Mary takes a selfie. When we magnify the image, we actually find it is made up of millions of tiny everyday motifs such as the symbol for infinity, hashtags, hearts, and even iconic space-invaders figures.
In his work, the artist invites the viewer to enter into a new state of consciousness where neural networks and generative algorithms shape future worlds and our place within it. As we immerse ourselves in his art, we embark on an exploration of universal themes, cultural references, and cutting-edge artistic creativity.