Library Street Collective (1274 Library Street, Detroit, MI) presents Stare into the Abyss, a solo exhibition of new works by Detroit-based artist Jason REVOK, opening Saturday, September 25th. Originally from Riverside, California, REVOK has built a career on a foundation of minimalist aesthetics, though he complicates traditional forms of minimalism by continuously making clear the presence and influence of human imperfection. Rather than depicting perfectly rendered geometric shapes and patterns, Jason REVOK leaves room for unexpected variations in his designs, highlighting the limitations of people and machines.
With Stare into the Abyss, REVOK pushes creative boundaries as he continues his series of canvas works and vibrant wood assemblages. His well-recognized Tape Loop and Spirograph paintings on canvas portray a stark contrast to his simplified assemblages, yet the work seamlessly comes together to produce a comprehensive vibrancy. While the assemblages feature expertly manufactured woodcuts, REVOK’s use of color and layering complicate the visual plane, building a connection to the canvas paintings. The meticulously repetitive nature of his creation process is interrupted by machine glitches along with the artist’s hand. The disruptions manifest visually, displaying REVOK’s intention but simultaneous lack of complete control over the medium, as well as his leaving room for the unexpected. Because of this process, the resulting painting can never be fully predicted beforehand, creating a disconnect between the artist and the work, and welcoming spontaneity and interpretation. The convergence of lines produces an energy that draws the eye to established focal points, while negative space allows opportunity for rest, this balance kindling a meditative quality that translates from REVOK’s practice to the process of viewing his work.
The complexity of REVOK’s work extends beyond the visual aspects to foundational elements that are much more apparent within his production process. Through creating his paintings and assemblages, his practice is continually evolving to further explore the capabilities and limitations of his custom-made tools and his own body. He works in collaboration with the tools through a gestural mark making process that results in a harmony of lines and shapes, often depicting his own angst about social, cultural, and political issues. The strenuous nature of his practice is indicative of his criticisms of humanity and existential questioning. Disappointed in obsessions with minute happenings, collective numbness, and feelings of powerlessness to affect change, REVOK utilizes his artmaking practice as an exercise in mindfulness and a means to seek purpose in life. He is attempting to connect to something larger than himself and his day-to-day concerns.
The aesthetic REVOK creates within his work builds on foundations of minimalist abstract art. Yet, he complicates these ideas with layering, manipulation of color schemes, and uses of gradients, and he roots the work within psychological themes.
Jason REVOK, Stare into the Abyss, will be on display at Library Street Collective from September 25 through November 11, 2021.