BY ELI LANGER, WHITEHOT LOS ANGELES
“Gaylen Gerber is bending the idea of contemporary painting past its own tolerance levels and this demonstrates that ultimately it is our own flexibility to encompass this severe warping behavior of matters which provides any kind of potential possibility.”
On my mind while walking into Gaylen Gerber’s show at Daniel Hug Gallery was the handwritten note and egg a stranger had deposited on my car in two incidents this week.
As the person who penned the note had turned to another medium to convey their malicious selves to me, that the egg and it’s dipped in and spread about yolk and whites had revealed a formalistic handwriting. Exchanging one for another and in the process rendered a kind of candor of touch and moreover an equality between the two distinct means of conveyance.
How the egg was pushed around by an intentional hand is apparent to my painting eyes, feeling like a paint handwriting analyst I was able to see the sensitivity and focus in the tactile properties and energy release which I related to the writer of the handwritten note.
So where is the signature in formal anonymity? It is there in the opaque nature of formalism of any sort , however manufactured. A telltale logic. where is Gaylen Gerber in these paintings? We look at the paintings on the canvasses. I am already astonished he is interested in painting…and then there are actually silly and charming figurative works and blank monochromatic works hanging side by side, as well as neo conceptual sculpture by B.Wurtz which employed primary coloured dishwashing scrubs in an arrangement on and around a basic Gerber grey canvas, standard to the show. The other visible painting is by artists Heimo Zobernig, Daniel Buren and Tyson Reeder.
“There is a layering of painterly values which breaks the backwards forwards motion of both time and concept of value put on process.”
At the opening night Brian K. and I agreed we liked a painting and I interrupted us to say but we like it for reasons we aren’t supposed to . we are identifying with a childish image by Tyson Reeder of a nature that I suspect has been employed as a decoy of our attention.
Gaylens underpainting will providing the grounds for the painters to alter or deface with their own paintings. All painting is a kind of defacement of an original surface. This partly accounts for the illicit thrill painting stokes in its painter.
Substrate. There is a layering of painterly values which breaks the backwards forwards motion of both time and concept of value put on process. Gaylen has shockingly invited an effacement of his labour and authorship on the canvas. He describes it as an ‘exchange of visibility for use’. This turning out of the artists outstanding position of selfdom in the production and presentation of art feels both a two faced strategy of concealing himself but occupying the ultimate secured territory of painting. Its grounds.
Painting means only that a thing is painted, that paint as a substance has all the history and inherited load of the historical and that it also has an affinity with both pictures and natural systems inasmuch as it possesses unseen and scientific properties. Its organic matter is both transformable and compliant but utterly stubborn plasticity.
“How the egg was pushed around by an intentional hand is apparent to my painting eyes, feeling like a paint handwriting analyst I was able to see the sensitivity and focus in the tactile properties and energy release which I related to the writer of the handwritten note.”
The feeling that Gaylen promiscuously invites a coupling, not being a collaboration and not even symbiotic makes me feel as though there’s some camouflage trick like a being hides its form within another being. Artists who in collusion attempting to wreck or obscure the issue of the sacrosanct artist signature but even as this is achieved it nonetheless clarifies Gaylens’ signature move; The grey grounds propped in the institutional setting and all other activity to the fore of his base position.
At issue is the question of what it is one experiences in Gaylens exhibitions? I have to think of the first show of his I saw in which I was whelmed by the sense of an empty gallery until as I exited I saw that one entire wall was a stretched canvas painted white and only noticeable as such from a side viewing which revealed the edges of the stretcher rising from floor to ceiling, hanging flat upon the inner wall.
If Gerber is concealing something beneath the images and various modes of painting used by others and by blending painting and its structures with architecture so effectively that his painting attains an invisibility, he is demonstrating the matter that painting at the margins of its expected uses and visibility remains painting viable and differentiated.
Gaylen Gerber is bending the idea of contemporary painting past its own tolerance levels and this demonstrates that ultimately it is our own flexibility to encompass this severe warping behavior of matters which provides any kind of potential possibility.