The drapery is so classical that they could almost be carved from stone. Classical as in archaic. But this once overlooked archaism seems to have a radical and therefore fresh quality in the eyes of the 21st century beholder. There are aspects of pictures that can evade our attention for precisely the opposite reason — not because they have to be hunted out in overlooked corners, but because they are so integral to a painting’s construction that we can simply forget to think about them. They are overlooked in plain sight. It is within this reasoning that Dino Gabito focuses on drapery. Every artist who has ever depicted human beings in action has been obliged — most of the time, at least — to clothe his figures in some form of drapery or costume. So much so that drapery itself became part of the language of painting: as much of a given, one might say, as any of the parts of speech in written language.
It gives the impression that it is there simply because it has to be there, so we pay it less attention than it deserves. But because it has always been so malleable, so open to invention — so inviting of artistic invention, both in texture and form — drapery has always played a vital part in what might be called the secret history of figurative painting. Gabito makes full display of drapery sans the human figure, in all its openness to the invention of the imagination.