Monday, January 11, 2016


"Amplified 1" - mesh banner print / shredded original painting on mylar

82" x 63.25" repost of my article.

This is the last weekend for Joey Brock’s show at Craighead Green Gallery. He is showing along side two other solo shows at the gallery; Heather Gorham and Jay Maggio. But I kept coming back to Brock’s show, which surprised me because graffiti inspired work rarely grabs me. Brock, however, manages to capture the tradition of abstraction, while obfuscating just pure garish tagging techniques in this series.

When I first encountered these pieces, I thought immediately about Christopher Wool’s abstract series. Both Brock and Wool use the graffiti can spray look, but reflect on abstract tradition of the New York School of the 1950’s. Brock in contrast uses bright colors in his work, yet muted by his use of mylar. Brock also uses the transparent nature of mylar in order to create layers. He paints on the mylar then uses a photograph of a tagged wall or object on the bottom layer. The mylar is cloudy white, so all his work is muted and this defuses his colors into a cloud like mist. Once again, I think back to Wool, because of his use of black, white, greys, and silver. Wool also creates a muted composition, yet more flat. Brock’s color seems to amp up his painting and give a feeling of lightness and positivity.

Joey Brock brings a bit of a conceptual element to his show. Neon letters proclaiming “Quiet the Noise” reflects my feelings when looking at his images through his mylar. He also flattens his images in a few pieces by scanning his work and printing out large mesh banner prints displayed with his shredded original painting. This reproduction of the original now stands as the new original. The process to get to the banner has been included in the same way an artist might include the brushes and leftover paint from a painting for display. This was visually interesting although, I don’t think completely necessary. I enjoyed seeing the shredded painting, but I could imagine having been told the story of how Brock destroyed the work to make the larger banner prints without the evidence on display. I think the pieces would have grabbed my attention none the less. Then again, I don’t see the destroyed canvas as a crutch either. Processes included in these art pieces are revealing about his thoughts on what makes a finished art piece, which isn’t necessarily a painting or a photo on traditional materials.

I noticed Brock also had a few collage paper and mylar pieces. These reflected in color and some style of the paintings. The works also used layering with a different approach than the paintings. I am wondering if these are possible experiments for another show, because the direction for these works seems to be moving away from the rest of the works. All in all the direction of this new work is an exciting step forward. Brock is rooted in abstraction and informed by the street, but now transformed by his use of material and process. He has moved beyond straight painting.

Saddly, November 14th is your last moment to see Just Below the Surface, new works by Joey Brock. Heather Gorham and Jay Maggio are also closing this weekend. Yet, I am sure they would pull one or two out of storage if you ask. They are very friendly and I always enjoy my visit to Craighead Green Gallery.

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