Upon entering the studios of each of these three artists, the Director’s immediate response was, “How did it get like THAT?”
The ties that bind these artist’s works together as they struggle to assemble a painting, formerly rigid to the point of breaking, are an obsession with the use of traditionally irreverent materials.
Shredded canvas, hanging staples, broken mirrors, jagged Plexiglas…as these clusters of objects work their way from waste to art, bending this way and that, sharp reflections and sharp edges, rip, torn, broken and busted, these creations become remarkably re-frozen in a moment of re-materialization.
When asked in a recent interview with Colin Huerter about the ‘impulse’ behind his works, Kadar Brock responded, “They arose out of an interest in ritual, magic and role playing games and how they relate to abstraction. I wanted to use these more casual and objectified systems of belief to look at the ideological underpinnings of making abstract art and to parallel the subjective and participatory nature of content in abstraction. Using these systems gives me a lot of freedom by setting up a frame.” He continues to describe the process behind his recent works which he describes as ‘ghosts.’ “I’m taking paintings that I’ve made in the past, paintings that were bright, gestural, geometric and predicated on a certain belief about abstraction and a belief about how to go about making abstract paintings. I’m taking these paintings and scraping away at them with a razor and sanding them down with my power sander and then white washing them and repeating that. The work ends up with all these holes and visual elements that are partly determined by chance, partly by process and partly by a past self.”
Jason Gringler’s current practice is based on the limitations of specific materials. “I use Plexiglas as a starting point for building on the history of abstraction. Plexiglas is reflective; the coupling of Plexiglas with broken mirrors allows the architecture (and viewer) from any space to become integrated with the work. The fragmented mirror acts simultaneously as a window as well as a painterly device. I have chosen a material that I find to be the antithesis of what painting traditionally represents. A secondary but equally important part of my practice involves the cannibalization of my larger works. Digital inkjet prints of the Plexiglas works are cut and remixed to create small collage pieces which become the basis for new large scale works with Plexiglas.”
Jim Lee’s contribution to the exhibit, like much of his output, walks the line between painting and sculpture. Lee often adds constructed elements to the substance of many of his paintings pushing the formal conventions of his work through the inclusion of unexpected found materials – wood, sawdust, vinyl, stainless steel, insulation, foam and soiled canvas. The dichotomy between playful construction and serious formal investigation is echoed in this piece.
Woodshedding, a previous show title, is so-called for the ramshackle structures to which musicians have traditionally retreated to escape distraction. It’s a fitting rubric for this piece, but an equally suitable title would have been “Frankensteining”: The artist’s creations are not only made out of flotsum and jetsam but are also haphazardly stitched, stapled, glued, or hold together by wire.
Jim Lee received his MFA from University of Delaware in 1996 and currently lives and works in NYC.
Jason Gringler was born in 1978 in Toronto, Canada and currently lives and works in NYC.
He graduated with honors from Ontario College of Art and Design.
Kadar Brock was born in New York in 1980 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn. He holds a BFA from Cooper Union School of Art.