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JOEY BROCK
at Craighead Green Gallery through november 14
by Todd Camplin

This is the last weekend for Joey Brock’s show at Craighead Green Gallery. He is showing along
side two other solo shows at the gallery; Heather Gorham and Jay Maggio. But I kept coming
back to Brock’s show, which surprised me because graffiti inspired work rarely grabs me. Brock,
however, manages to capture the tradition of abstraction, while obfuscating just pure garish
tagging techniques in this series.
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When I first encountered these pieces, I thought immediately about Christopher Wool’s abstract
series. Both Brock and Wool use the graffiti can spray look, but reflect on abstract tradition of the
New York School of the 1950’s. Brock in contrast uses bright colors in his work, yet muted by his use
of mylar. Brock also uses the transparent nature of mylar in order to create layers. He paints on
the mylar then uses a photograph of a tagged wall or object on the bottom layer. The mylar is
cloudy white, so all his work is muted and this defuses his colors into a cloud like mist. Once
again, I think back to Wool, because of his use of black, white, greys, and silver. Wool also
creates a muted composition, yet more flat. Brock’s color seems to amp up his painting
and give a feeling of lightness and positivity.  

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Joey Brock brings a bit of a conceptual element to his show. Neon letters proclaiming “Quiet
the  Noise” reflects my feelings when looking at his images through his mylar. He also flattens
his images in a few pieces by scanning his work and printing out large mesh banner prints
displayed with his  shredded original painting. This reproduction of the original now stands
as the new original. The  process to get to the banner has been included in the same way
an artist might include the  brushes and leftover paint from a painting for display. This was
visually interesting although,  I don’t think completely necessary. I enjoyed seeing the
shredded painting, but I could imagine having been told the story of how Brock destroyed
the work to make the larger  banner prints without the evidence on display. I think the pieces
would have grabbed  my attention none the less. Then again, I don’t see the destroyed
canvas as a crutch either. Processes included in these art pieces are revealing about his
thoughts on what makes a finished art piece, which isn’t necessarily a painting or a
photo on traditional materials.

I noticed Brock also had a few collage paper and mylar pieces. These reflected in color and some
style of the paintings. The works also used layering with a different approach than the paintings.
I am wondering if these are possible experiments for another show, because the direction for these
works seems to be moving away from the rest of the works. All in all the direction of this new work
is an exciting step forward. Brock is rooted in abstraction and informed by the street, but now
transformed by his use of material and process. He has moved beyond straight painting.

"Amplified 1" - mesh banner print / shredded original painting on mylar
82" x 63.25"
"Beneath 9" - mixed media on mylar
49" x 39"
"Beneath 10" - mixed media on mylar
49" x 39"
"Beneath 8" - mixed media on mylar
Saddly, November 14th is your last moment to see Just Below the Surface, new works by Joey
Brock. Heather Gorham and Jay Maggio are also closing this weekend. Yet, I am sure they
would pull one or two out of storage if you ask. They are very friendly and I always enjoy my
visit to
Craighead Green Gallery.