Features

Jason Gringler

In some ways, the driving force behind my work is failure. Allow me to elaborate; I have a strong interest in painting and its history although painting is not something I have a natural proclivity towards. I spent many years experimenting with the pitfalls of my hands attempting to maneuver pigment successfully, but the results were mostly disastrous. Consequently, stubborn as I am, instead of giving up the genre, I changed the materials.

All images Courtesy by the artist

My work relies heavily on labor and formal material experimentation while engaging with urban architecture, spatial perception, destruction, recycling and decay. I lived in NYC for ten years nearly to the day (my departure date was a coincidence). Something of interest that I learned in New York is that ‘limitations’ are the most important tools I have to utilize within my studio practice. As well, I am quite sensitive to ‘space’. What I mean is that ‘space’ informs my work. The studio architecture and surrounding neighborhood will always make appearances in the art/objects I produce. I like to be active in the studio. I am extremely organized and prefer the studio to be station-based. This way I am on my feet while working. I keep the studio as pared down as possible. Outside of having tools and materials for production, I just recently acquired a chair that sits in the corner. I try to streamline the studio so that my entire focus while at work is only the work. A white floor, white furniture and white walls help me to accentuate my focus.

Destruction is something I have come to understand as a necessity. The straightforward answer is that 50% of my output is unsuccessful so the logical part of my brain translates my unsuccessful attempts at production back in to ‘raw’ material. Working this way gives me a set limitation for the next piece but simultaneously this methodology gives the next work a defined ‘beginning’ structure as well. Bare-with me here but destruction also has an interesting conversation with painting and gestural mark-making. The act of destroying an object achieves more than the destruction of said object. Destruction has repercussions, and those repercussions interest me as a stand-in for unmannered (or possibly painted) gestures. The victim’s corpse appears to reveal the history of its murder.

I recycle materials whenever possible, however, I buy the majority of acrylic glass, concrete, epoxy, mirror and steel firsthand. A circle of use does occur once the initial investment has been made. I will say that outside of my studio I live minimally with very few objects and with little product consumption. When it comes to my work, I do not sacrifice. It is fortuitous that my practice has evolved to incorporate recycling and the reuse of my materials. Here I can elaborate with two examples from two different bodies of work. First, the glass ‘paintings’: Typically, this body of work consists of layered acrylic glass, glass, UV epoxy resin, steel, sign vinyl, spray enamel and collage. There are two adhesives I use when bonding acrylic glass. One adhesive is a ‘water-like’ chemical that fuses two parts of acrylic glass within a few seconds -essentially it melts the surfaces together. If I make an error, at a certain point the work is destroyed. Unlike, let’s say, a painting, I cannot scrape down the surface or overpaint it unless I want to lose all translucent properties of the glass. Once the ‘failed’ work is destroyed I consider pieces for reuse.

And when I reuse parts, those parts come with the history of their destruction thus adding a narrative and foundation for new beginnings. Second, the steel, glass and concrete ‘paintings’: I began this series in Berlin under environmental circumstances. My studio is unheated (update: for the first two years; now I have heat). The winter months are tolerable aside from January and February. Certain materials become useless in the cold so I had to find replacements. I realized that I am surrounded by concrete within this industrial part of Berlin. Concrete ‘cures’ rather than dries. The cold does not have much impact on the material (as far as I can tell). These pieces relate a bit more to sustainability because I use the concrete to embalm parts of other works that have been cut up and saved for reconsideration. When the concrete works are deemed unsuccessful, I bash out the concrete and cut up the steel and glass portions for reuse, again, allowing for the history of destruction to travel into my future output.

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