03.05.2013 - 22.06.2013
SAKS presents the second solo show at the gallery of American artist Evan Gruzis (*1979).
The title of the show "Strictly Method" refers to Method acting, a technique used by actors to "become" their characters, drawing the character's identity upon their own emotions and memories, in developing their internal sensory, psychological and emotional abilities. In the context of Gruzis' work, this exhibition brings together media and methodologies, staging and theater being central ideas for this show, which becomes an "ensemble cast" of processes, of a variety of media, where the artist uses the techniques most appropriate to the image.
The work "The Return of Saturn" represents a new vein of abstraction in Gruzis' oeuvre, an abstraction based on the geometric ratios of cinema : letterboxing – the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width. The canvas is in 16:9 ratio (standard widescreen) and the center rectangle is in 2.39:1 ratio (common American theater screen ratio). These two ratios refer to private (television) and public (movie theater) viewing. The canvases are tie-dyed – a signifier for the psychedelic, which in turn is a sign for perception. This mix of psychedelic and screen-media tropes combines to create quasi abstract allegories for the self. Also, the act of dying the canvases relates to his use of water media on paper.
The large work using water media on paper "Ninsei", and its smaller counterpart using acrylic on canvas "Sendai-Hosaka", are evidence of how cultural signifiers in Gruzis work – in this case the Venetian blind – are evolving into phenomenology-based abstraction, and his movement away from directly referencing objects while maintaining aesthetic continuity. Next to these works, "classic" still-lifes play counterpart to the abstraction. Visually striking, Evan Gruzis' ink paintings on paper demonstrate a virtuosic use of the fluidity of the medium in creating seemingly-photographic black and white visions. The coke bottle becomes a vanitas playing with brand-awareness, and the videotape could be seen as a reference to the "monolith" in Stanley Kubrick's "2001 : A Space Odyssey". The artist dramatizes the content of his images through the use of light effects, thinking and almost sculpting his compositions in terms of contrasts.