Fan Mail: Jason Gringler

For this edition of Fan Mail, Jason Gringler has been selected from a group of worthy submissions. If you would like to be considered, please submit to a link to your website with ‘Fan Mail’ in the subject line. Two artists are featured each month—the next one could be you!

Upon first glance, the large-scale works of Canadian-born, New York-based artist Jason Gringler may appear to be straightforward abstract paintings. But a closer look at the distinctive materiality and details of these works reveals that this is not the case. Painting in the traditional sense has never really appealed to the artist, who prefers to challenge the medium’s limitations, in part through the use of unconventional materials. Rather than working on stretched canvas, he begins each work by mounting Plexiglas to the front of a wooden stretcher. To this surface, he applies not only acrylic paints, spray paints and collage, but also hand-cut pieces of Plexi- and broken mirrored glass, creating a variable surface through the application of many layers. The resulting works balance areas of transparency, translucence, opacity and reflectiveness.

Jason Gringler. "Killing Sisyphus," (2009). Acrylic, Collage, Spray Enamel, Cut Inlaid Plexiglas, Broken Mirrors. 72 x 84 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Drawing inspiration from the urban environment in which he lives and works, Gringler’s practice is very much about construction, deconstruction and reconstruction. For me, his use of industrial materials and a muted color palette with pops of bright color evokes the stark contrast of concrete and steel against graffiti or posters, a hallmark of virtually all city streets.  His carefully constructed abstractions adeptly combine with fragmented images of his studio, juxtaposing real and constructed space.

These works do not sit stagnant on the wall. Through their sheer scale—six feet by seven feet to be exact—they engage the viewer’s body and encourage a consideration of how the work is produced.  Furthermore, the reflective quality of Gringler’s materials cultivates a dynamic experience that involves not only the audience, but also the display space’s architecture and lighting conditions.

Jason Gringler. "Collage 16," (2011). Acrylic, Cut Paper, Collage, Spray Enamel, Inkjet Prints. 8.5 x 11 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Though complete works in their own right, Gringler’s collages also serve as studies for his larger works with an interesting twist, incorporating printouts of other works. His collages are composed from printouts of the Plexiglass works, in addition to photographs of his studio and the neighborhoods surrounding his workspace. This cyclical process allows for the in-depth examination, and perhaps exhaustion, of particular forms or compositions.

Gringler is the subject of a solo exhibition this September at Galerie Stefan Röpke in Cologne in conjunction with a new monograph.