Jay Gazley

Apr 20, 2006 - May 9, 2006

Warp : Aerial Tectonics ---text by Gary Michael Dault

JAY GAZLEY AT ENGINE GALLERY:

Jay Gazley is working in a frenetic space slung between his having graduated from The Ontario College of Art and Design in 2004 and his heading off for a Masters Degree from Vancouver's Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in the fall.

He has filled that space with a handful of paintings (and small, block-like, "modular" painted rhomboids) that take architecture and circuitry and other manifestations of connectedness and exactitude, as the matrix within which he has turned out the carefully made, optically dazzling acrylic paintings on board or on wood panels that make up a collection he calls *Warp: Aerial-Tectonics*.

Now this is a pretty hifalutin' phrase and, having chosen it as his title, Gazley's task is to attempt, somehow, to woo the viewer towards some transcendence of the lurking pomposity of all those buzz-words (warp, tectonics, etc.) in it. This he manages and doesn't manage.

I haven't yet decided whether Gazley is an ingenuously fresh, inventive colourist, or merely a stylishly ghastly one. If he is the latter—and I think he is—then this means that all the off-putting magentas and dead whites and dried-blood reds and hard, clangy blues with which his paintings throb and vibrate are chosen with diabolical deliberation to sear our eyes and disarm our objections. These kinds of colour, flat and textureless and deadpan, are the harbingers of a quite new, quite chic melding, now widespread in the art of the young, of art ideas and design ideas.

Derived more from video-games and from swooning memories of the old Disney computer film, *Tron*, than from art-history, Gazley's best paintings, such as *Platform*, are bloodlessly exciting in their unforgiving aggressions (which is a very hip attitude right now). When they don't work at all, as with the more mixed-media things he did last year (such as *Fuse*), it's because he had not yet attained, at that time, the savage cold-bloodedness he needs to be commanding.

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