JIMI GLEASON: REFLECTED & ABSORBED
November 11, 2017 - January 13, 2018
The William Turner Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Southern California based artist, Jimi Gleason. Intrigued by the interlinking phenomena of perception, environment and engagement, Gleason presents two distinct bodies of work, Reflected and Absorbed, inviting the viewer to experience the paintings in this exhibition in entirely different ways.
The Reflected paintings are consistent with the ultra sleek, silver deposit pieces that Gleason has been producing for the past decade, but, in a departure from his previous work, the artist has invoked the grid as a way to re-order and disrupt these luminous surfaces. While the grid marked a radical way for the avant-garde artists of the early 20th century to break free from the tradition of representational painting, Gleason’s interpretation is fascinating because his reflective surfaces actually re-introduce the human figure into these abstractions. Gleason’s multi-textural surfaces are broken up into hard-edge geometric fields that oscillate between blocks of mirror-like sheen and gritty texture. The effect is dazzling - the pieces act as fractured mirrors that simultaneously reflect and obscure the environment around them. The tumbling, rectangular forms shimmering across Gleason’s Untitled, echo the elegantly stacked shapes of Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist compositions, while the asymmetrical checkerboard surface of one of his lustrous silver pieces recalls the reductive constructions of Piet Mondrian, though Gleason’s pieces feel entirely contemporary due to his masterful use of non-traditional materials.
Like the Reflected paintings, the Absorbed pieces are achieved using Gleason’s signature technique of deploying a thin coat of silver nitrate deposit over acrylic on canvas. Diverging from their ultra-gloss predecessors, however, Gleason has mutated the surface of the Absorbed pieces so that the reflective quality of the silver nitrate is transformed into a pearlescent glow. Applying a prismatic array of hues, these paintings become all about color and texture. By obstructing any reflected imagery, these pieces are in essence, pure abstraction. Gleason’s application of thickly impasto acrylic coupled with the delicious spectrum of vaporous jewel tones that seem to float just above the surface delight the senses. The colors appear to shift as the viewer moves around the paintings while the churning surface textures make them appear as if they are perpetually in motion.
Born in Newport Beach, CA, Gleason received his BA from UC Berkeley in 1985. He studied printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute before relocating to New York City, where he worked as a photo assistant and photo technician. Returning to California, Gleason was employed in the studio of Ed Moses for five years. Combining the disparate technical and compositional skills developed during his exposure to printmaking, photography and mixed-media painting, Gleason is now the subject of considerable curatorial and critical applause. His work is exhibited in significant public institutions, including the Armand Hammer Museum, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Tucson Museum of Art and the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation.