Art is very often perceived as a puzzle, perhaps even a code that only a few highly trained breakers could tango with. What method consumes the artist to produce such images is, nor will ever be, an essence easily grasped by viewers. After all, we interpret in our own means consuming values that differ from viewer to viewer, allowing us to become an interaction of the work itself. Sometimes it’s okay to just sit back and watch a visual piece act out in silence without the conflict of resolution to the grand meaning of it all. Letting your imagination become a figure intrenched in the art is much more enjoyable, rather than a viewer painfully trying to understand the methods of madness.
Such was the case when I saw Jason Bryant’s massive painting ‘A crack in his faux finish’, from his recent exhibition entitled ‘Merging Icons’. Sadly as with most images digitally rendered then shipped across the unknown murky depths of the internet, the gravity of detail to his painting are all but lost in this high-resolution JPEG on my desktop. For anyone who believes a file on a computer holds as much power as an original artwork, I am here to inform you that you’re insane. Nothing can, or will ever, compare to viewing art in the flesh. Which is why not being able to see Bryant’s paintings for full worth is highly disappointing. But in this circumstance I can’t, so I must wonder from a distance what method of technicality Bryant chose in his hybridization of classic Hollywood cinema and 80’s cult skater culture, which comprise his body of work.
“Heavily influenced by film and having been a skateboarder for 17 years, I wanted to create work that could merge the two cultures. A way that both iconic film image and iconic skateboard graphic could be a reinterpretation of each and seen in a totally new and different way.”
Composed of muted grey tones with accents of black, a man in a crisp evening suit is climbing on the cliff face of what I can only assume is a landscape straight out of a Hitchcock wet dream. He’s most certainly on a mission to rescue his damsel in hellish distress, one would conclude, trying to locate which still from what movie this hero is plucked. The landscape has ruptured releasing a vibrant sunset in the bottom right corner of what once was rock face; raging balls of flame escape trailing Death as he screams across the face of our hero, flame in hand.
“Once the black and white film still is painted, I then set out to find away the skate graphic can ‘ break through ‘ the canvas and disrupt he image, and yet, create a harmony between the two. Allowing the iconic images to function as a new painting where the original impact and meaning of the images have changed, and the painting has its own meaning and impact.”
I so badly want to be able to reach out and explore the brush strokes which made this strange Hollywood legend fuse together with a grim reaper shooting fireballs into the atmosphere. I feel like the long lost member of the Avengers has just challenged my vision into taking a more respectful view on what the classic Hollywood leading man really had to offer.