You’ll find below, a review by J Brooks Joyner, who was Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery at the time of writing:
Part of Gabriel’s genius, in my opinion, has been his ability to capture that very cryptic and profound tradition in modern art, merge it into strongly personalized images and give to it power and authority through brilliant color, masterful compositions and theatricality.
Between 1980 and 1998 Gabriel’s work found its way into many private collections, galleries and museums. Because Gabriel‘s inspiration has been deeply rooted in early 20th century European models and because he has chosen to work from traditional, albeit authoritative sources of art historical symbolism, his work has been largely overlooked by many artists and dealers in Vancouver, Canada and North America.
The style and content of Gabriel’s paintings are, however, very much in keeping with many highly successful and bankable artists presently working in a similar mode in such European centers as Berlin, Vienna, London and Paris, where surrealism has undergone a revival in recent years.
Had I not resigned as director of the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1996 to accept another opportunity I would have advanced Gabriel‘s paintings for consideration as an exhibition at the Gallery and I would have encouraged the purchase of his work for the permanent collection. Gabriel’s work is some of the very best contemporary art that I have seen in the past thirty years. I have also been impressed with his profound dedication to an artistic philosophy and production that can only be described as “counter avant garde” where one produces brilliant work outside of the mainstream or “cutting edge” art.
In that respect, I have continuing admiration and praise for Gabriel Szohner and his truly exceptional career despite his many setbacks. Even though he has been working to some extent in an unreceptive environment in Canada, he has been able to accomplish a great deal as a painter in the past twenty-five years. I believe that it is only a matter of time before the art market recognizes his genius. The loss of a large body of work at a critical time in his career, a loss which clearly cannot yet be evaluated from an art historical point of view, may I hope be only a temporary set back for this very productive and ambitious painter.
I trust that my opinions and observations are of benefit to your office and to Gabriel Szohner in this matter. Please call upon me if I can be of further assistance.
J Brooks Joyner
Director, Vancouver Art Gallery