Molten colors swirl and crash in Jimi Gleason’s latest paintings, unveiled on March 12th. Well known for his supremely smooth paintings, Gleason’s racing flatness has now receded, leaving behind topographies of color and deeply alien landscapes sculpted out of brilliance and sheen.
In works such as “Devils Arcade” fish-bright scales and lizard eyes glint from Gleason’s sculpted palate. Unlike previous work, these paintings do not always care for subtlety, some leap and gnash and would draw blood if touched. A rare few, however, retain the delicacy of hue and tone Gleason has become known for, fanning out in dimensional ripples.
In 2009, Gleason developed a method of coating his work with a highly polished metal sheen, but those first experiments were seduced by, and trapped within, that shimmering surface, toying idly with the possibilities of reflection and tone. Now two years into the process, Gleason has learned to modulate this specular brilliance, allowing the polychrome coating to emphasize the underlying colors, to collaborate with the physicality of his paint. The technique has become a tool, and these latest paintings take full advantage of what the material has to offer. The new paintings in Favrile take paint on canvas as a starting point, blooming into startling works of pure sculpted color. The lightness they achieve through the use of reflective elements cuts through otherwise dense paint: these paintings have a physicality almost to the point of colored gravity.