1340 St. Roch Avenue
June 14–July 6, 2014
Painter Jered Sprecher describes himself as “a hunter and a gatherer,” sourcing images and messages from the media, the built environment, and the objects of our daily lives. His work presses pause on the information superhighway upon which we careen everyday to create an alternative language that can be widely interpreted.
In “Beats/Breaks,” Sprecher’s current exhibition at Staple Goods, familiar patterns and symbols appear in the eight paintings on view, but they are complicated by uncategorizable shapes, indefinable marks, and intense color. In To Hold, 2009, for example, a large black “X” formation meets a plus sign in the center of the canvas. A rough blue and teal border contrasts the pinks and reds popping through the black background and outlining the central configuration. In this painting and many on view, the coarse texture of the linen canvas shows through, creating a streaky, vein-like quality. It is as if the paintings and their contents were simultaneously growing and decomposing before our eyes.
While the symbols and shapes here and in other works such as Learning, 2009, are more recognizable, most of the works on view offer a vast space for interpretation. In Interlude, 2011, thin, clearly defined vertical stripes alternate between white and purple, developing a basic pattern that covers the canvas. A large black blob usurps the surface from the top left corner as its tentacles move downward. What is clear here, and continues throughout the paintings, is Sprecher’s dedication to exposing the many layers of these works.
Generating textures and graphic effects that are suggestive of printmaking, the layers also prompt viewers to spend time on the individual marks and question the technique and ordering of things. The artist has proclaimed his interest in “change, destruction, redefinition, and restoration” and it shows. These processes make for uneasy viewing, which, gracefully converging with the painter’s careful articulation, ultimately gives way to a beautifully engaging conversation about the state of transformation—a continuous oscillation between meaning something and nothing.