Gabrielle Leighton spent her early years in Winnipeg, Manitoba as well as Lincoln, Nebraska. After graduation from Lincoln high school’s Art and Humanity Focus Program in 2012, she traveled around parts of Canada before she moved to Toronto; this is where she earned her BFA at OCADUniversity in May of 2018. Her work has been realized by using plywood with wood tools such as a die grinder, router, belt sander, chisels, acrylic paint and a blowtorch. Gabrielle has focused on pushing her material boundaries to see how far one material can be manipulated. She has used her practice as a vehicle to document a mark, sustain a voice as a record of time. “I want to bring light to the personal experience coming out gay in non-accepting communities as well as express the importance of belonging to the queer community”. She has in more recent years been working from a more sculptural approach. 

Artist Statement

Close engagement with the material qualities inherent to each form and medium has served as the foundation for my artistic practice. I have realized that more of my practice has to do with the different ways I can manipulate my material in order to express different past experiences or movements within the queer community. I have found that I can explore identity through a complex, industrially-produced material layered with ‘content’ from its natural, organic source. Each piece of plywood is not completely changed in the manufacturing process but rather edited. No two panels are truly alike. Each surface has a vocabulary of knots, grains,textures, hues, growth rings, organic networks of fine lines and whirls - and manufacturing defects. I observe layers of plywood as unfamiliar terrain to be discovered and annotated. My work serves to express overall feelings of tension, vulnerability, pain and balance. 


Group Shows

Festival of the body, OCAD University, March 1-15, 2018, Toronto, ON

In Flux, Ada sleight gallery, March 6-10, 2018, Toronto, ON

Conquering me, OCAD University, March 14-30, 2018, Toronto, ON

George Brown College event, Artscape Young place, February 13, 2016,Toronto, ON

2 Hot 2 Hang , June 16th ,122 John st, Toronto, ON

Intended Show, Why the @#&! Do you Paint, Gladstone, October 30th - December2th, 2018, Toronto, ON

IntendedShow, Experiencing Perspectives, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, November 17,2018- November 17, 2019, Toronto, ON


Big draw,OCAD Universities annual fundraiser, SOLD piece proceeds to Drawing andPainting program, Toronto, ON


OCADDrawing & Painting Thesis Catalogue, Praxis,pg. 102, 2018  


Mrs. W. O.Forsyth Award, 2018 


OCAD University- Toronto,ON

BFA, concentration in sculpture and installation, May 2018