Remote Control / 33, 2012. Evan Gruzis
Speedball Superblack India Ink on Arches Aquarelle Paper - 38 x 58.25 inches
Exhibition: October 6th - November 4th, 2012
Reception: Saturday, October 6th, 6 - 9 pm
The Green Gallery is pleased to present Paper View, Evan Gruzis's first mid-western solo exhibition. As the title (a play on "pay-per-view") suggests, Gruzis engages notions of materiality, screen media, and perspective. Through a variety of methods ranging from his trademark india ink still-life to assisted ready-made sculpture, he employs wry humor to push the viewer up against what he calls "the paper-thin safety barrier between objectively questionable taste and cultural significance".
Anchoring the exhibition with a measure of realism is a large-scale depiction of a banana, enigmatically titled Remote Control / 33. The nature of the imagery, taken with the title, seems to be satirically conflating the handheld channel-changing device, the remote control, with this phallic article of produce. The "33" might refer to the artist's age, leading the audience to believe that this image of a ripening banana is a humorous meditation on manhood, and both passive and controlled viewing.
In another allusion to viewership, the minimal painting Movie 4:3, 16:9 deals directly with aspect ratios of common screen media. An otherwise blank canvas is bounded on the top and bottom by the familiar black "letterbox" bars. This brutally simple painting is a continuation Gruzis's exploration of abstraction in media formatting and how it stages our perception, which has been a prevalent theme in his work for the past year.
Types of perception, framing, and reflection are important to Gruzis's work, as highlighted in the piece Night Mode, which utilizes his technique of polishing a rectangular passage with graphite to create a faux-mirror. In this work, the "mirror" hangs in a disquietingly generic-yet-dated space. In the gallery's north room, Gruzis presents a small suite of works that continue playing with generic representation and dated aesthetics. The Pioneers are cardboard "stand-ups" created from publicly available vector-based images featured on plaques attached to the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecrafts. Gruzis's versions are decorated with found imagery from a 1980's "office art" poster. In conjunction with Dream Shield, a faux-tribal manipulation of a consumer satellite dish, and the dubiously titled sculpture Real Rock, the viewer confronts a paradoxically prehistoric-yet-future-minded tableau that is rife with allusions to the Garden of Eden and provokes issues of consumerism and human self-perception.
Born in 1979, Evan Gruzis is an interdisciplinary artist who is best known for his technically rigorous ink and watercolor paintings that combine seductive light and vacuous imagery. He received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his MFA from Hunter College in New York. Dark Systems, his first monograph, was published in conjunction with his inaugural American solo exhibition at Deitch Projects in New York. His work has been exhibited worldwide and belongs to numerous private and public collections, including that of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Gruzis is represented by The Hole (NY), DUVE Berlin, and Galerie SAKS (Geneva). Currently, he is included in Art On Paper: The 42nd Exhibition at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. He lives and works in New York and Wisconsin.