On View: November 8 - December 20, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 8, 6.30-9pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, November 15th, 2pm

Straight, No Chaser

Let’s not pretend there’s anything rational about abstract paintings, at least not the good ones. The bad ones make plenty of sense. And, Jason Gubbiotti’s new paintings are anything but rational. This actually makes perfect sense.

Gubbiotti tells me he isn’t looking to arrive at a point of completion and declaration, but rather a moment of transition and flux. Along the way he presents the viewer doubt, errors and repairs. With bills to pay and Wall Street gobbling up a larger slice of the pie, who can afford doubt and error these days?

The paintings in this show are painted on multiple supports and surfaces ranging from wooden panels, cotton and linen either stretched or laminated and one piece where the linen is the support where it is tacked to the wall like a tapestry. At times, the surfaces are entirely painted, covering surface while always playing with perimeter by stopping short or overlapping to the paintings sides. These occurrences are questioning and proposing the paintings conflict with its support and image. Gubbiotti will also present a painting where the canvas and linen are left natural for their inherent color and texture. When viewed closer, the viewer can see that sometimes the fabric has been dyed with diluted paint.

Gubbiotti discreetly presents us with numerous applications of paint. His painting tools are composed of rollers, razor blades, squeegees and recently, he admitted to me that he has two paintbrushes in his studio. Often, consecutive layers of thin paint are applied that develop thin ridges where forms and fields join. Masking tape plays an integral role in developing these paintings. By using tape, the lines and forms that occupy these works are delineated and 'hard edged".

Where many painters of this genre of painting compose their images before hand, Gubbiotti approaches his work more inline with the abstract expressionists. He inserts a process that permits decisions to be made on the painting, and after often edits them by painting over forms or at times the entire surface. The end result is a painting that reveals its own personal history - moments where mistakes have been made and then repaired.

When considering this body of work, it becomes evident that Jason Gubbiotti comes from a specific lineage of abstract painting. Certain artists became obvious springboards from the start. Frank Stella's early work where painted images that echo and interact with their constructed supports. Issues that Robert Ryman has dealt with can also be read into Gubbiotti's work where both artists take into consider the correlation with the support and the surface.

Where Ryman restrains his palate to only whites so color is not distracting the application of paint, Gubbiotti is not bashful to exploit color and form in addition. Gubbiotti has also been attracted to "warmer" painters like Thomas Nozkowski. Both share an affinity for the small and personal format by using the small confines of a painting space to investigate and play for almost infinite possibilities. A place that is designated for planning and improvisation; to set a structure while allowing room for designs to be made and altered.

It all adds up to a slow improvisation, like Thelonious Monk at two beats a minute. Perhaps this approach leaves a certain coolness that reveals a lack of personal expression, yet have traded emotion for sensitivity. These paintings that Gubbiotti is proposing for this exhibition disseminate between multiple trajectories throughout the ongoing lineage of abstract art and at times leaves us with question more often then answers. I’m ok with this outcome . I can't quite put my finger on what these paintings might mean, but I guess that’s what irrationality is all about and I’m ok with that too.

-- Sylvan Lionni


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