Believe half of what you see and none of what you’re told. In Evan Gruzis’s beautiful new exhibition, what’s being said might not be straightforward, but your eyes are in for a treat.
Where do we find beauty in a mass-produced world? Meaning in the babble of a thousand voices? Understanding in a sea of contradictions? While these questions aren’t for the faint-hearted or headed, they form the foundations of Gruzis’ work. What results in Exotic Beta is contemplation, beautifully presented.
Each canvas screams talent. The intricacy of the brushwork and the tangle of symbols and banal phraseology holds the viewer. Pin-perfect ink pieces hang next to canvases airbrushed in lush purply-blue, while paintings are framed in neon and sculpture. Taken as a whole, the work transcends any single medium to create a niche all of its own. On this platform, themes are dealt with in post-apocalyptic settings. The centrepiece of the exhibition is ‘Stratatos’, a large triptych dominating the back wall of the gallery. A Fender Stratocaster counter-balanced by a skull at the end of its neck is presented in black, white and eerie grey. On the facing canvas, the missing jawbone clings perilously to the edge of a metronome, hanging on its every beat. Next door, in a darkened room, a digital clock continuously flashes 88:88. Death, music and time are laid bare. Sponsored by True Religion jeans, Gruzis hopes the exhibition will prompt questions about how fashion turns these concepts into commodities like “youth” and “rebelliousness”.
Exotic Beta sees The Hole go from strength to strength as one of New York City’s most consistent galleries. As for Gruzis, he has produced the perfect package: elegant, distinctive aesthetics, underpinned by a solid, thoughtful philosophy. What results is beauty and intelligence, squared.
Text: Oscar Quine