Gregory De La Haba (American 1979-), Seven's Up, 2022
Oil paint, Krink marker, and spray paint on printed canvas
200 x 112cm
This artwork is unstretched and unframed
Numbers have power. And there’s power in numbers, which are everywhere, their visual dominance observed daily at gas pumps, at Metrocard stations, Powerball billboards, and door by door. Numerals have a mythic lore as revealed in ancient, Nordic tales of lands replete with nine worlds. Their folkloric importance portrayed in stories like The Seven Dwarfs or The Three Little Pigs. Spiritual derivations via the power of three can be found ubiquitously across cultures, perhaps none better known than the numerically mighty Holy Trinity, and only slightly less well known, the vaunted 3-sevens of slot machines ($$$). Apropos, life and death are broken down by numbers. From proof of one’s ‘Date of Birth,’ to one’s residence, to one’s interment ‘six feet under,’ time, life, and space are enumerated. Chance, too, or, powerfully, things as yet to be. As the clock ticks, millions of people world wide tune in to see if their lucky numbers pop up on that evening’s Lotto draw, anticipating an unlikely transition. And whether by luck, fate or the laws of probability, auspicious numbers are the name of the game.
In his latest series, Docket’s of Wins, the New York based artist Gregory de la Haba combines his interest in games of ‘luck’ and ‘good fortune’ with his photographic documentation of city doors—the ones that pay homage to the kinetic energies of the street due to their overabundance of graffiti, wheat-paste-posters, and promotional stickers (or slaps as they’re called on the street) in varying degrees of decay. Here, street art poetry meets Vegas odds; the portent of doors merges with numerical chance, this fateful union heralded by an inherited symbolism doused with casino panache. As de la Haba observes, a change of scenery, of even self, is just through this or that passage, might follow this or that roll of the dice. These demarcations fill our cityscapes and appeals-to-luck our well-wishing. Per de la Haba, count yourself lucky when the right door opens, when your numbers are called.