This Glacier, Cool and Sparking As it Should Be

Arts / Article

Can something be lovely — no, delicious — looking, and still be edgy? Yes, unequivocally, if the subject is Gavin Perry’s latest solo outing, “Glacier.” Anyone up on Miami’s art scene will be familiar with this artist’s work; his distinct styling

of resin and vinyl painting has been part and parcel of the landscape here, from exhibitions to book covers.

Painting, as the artist himself will clarify, is a loose description of what he generally creates — they are as much sculpture in quality and material as anything. Whatever the actual descriptors used, the work has captivated a wide audience, including galleries here (most recently Fred Snitzer) and in Houston and Paris.

But “Glacier,” which just opened at Snitzer, is, to keep up the metaphor, the most dazzling tip of Perry’s iceberg so far. There are dozens of pieces in the show, with a general uniformity to the style in that you would pick them out as being creations from Gavin Perry; and yet they are also happily diverse. And prone to colorful, even tangible, references — some do indeed look as delicious as an ice-cream cone, others more like psychedelic versions of rings in a tree trunk.

In the entrance, a large, clear resin block encapsulates multi-colored bits and pieces, called “Titanic” (it can also look like a giant piece of that hand-made soap found in specialty boutiques); while hanging behind it is a sculpture a little more menacing, jelly fish-like, amoebas with tendrils, titled “Cluster Fuck.”

That introduction clues us in to what will come — both tasty and unsettling.

The series of pillars in the next two rooms are striking; vertical, colorful layers upon layers of resin, with some slight defects to them. Draped on the walls behind: pigmented resin and vinyl on wood “paintings,” the ones that look so delicious. Perry has poured the resin and worked with the surfaces so they are less sterile or static than some of his stuff in the past, a little more alive. Which is intentional, and where the name “Glacier” came from in the first place. While at times appearing cold and immovable, glaciers are in fact kinetic entities, thawing and freezing, and picking up the detritus from the ground over which they slide.

Similarly, Perry’s work here seems to move and reveal the process of its creation. As it is described, “In a departure from previous signature works, Perry has introduced new and aggressive agitations to the austere surfaces. Pours of resin, circular saw cuts, and various scratches act not merely as cancellations to the existing subjects but they resuscitate the stoic past work. Perfection is sterile. The most recent paintings embrace history with a tongue and cheek look at action painting.”

There were other shows well worth visiting (recapped in later entries) this past Saturday, but don’t miss this solo outing from an artist moving in anything but a glacial pace.

“Glacier” through Oct. 4 at Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 2247 N.W. 1st Pl., Miami; 305-448-8976; snitzer.com.