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Jay Giroux
Devin Borden Gallery, Houston, Texas
Recommendation by Donna Tennant

Jay Giroux, “Untitled (introduction of safety orange),” 2014, acrylic, silkscreen ink, and spray paint on canvas.

Continuing through June 28, 2014

The Jay Giroux painting “Chopped & Screwed Vol. 3” is a tour de force of layers created mostly by taping, painting, and spraying. Stare at it long enough and you’ll notice leaping and bending figures, typographical elements, symbols, snakes and even angry birds emerge from the complex black-and-white composition. That’s the beauty of figurative abstraction — it changes every time you look at it, and everyone sees something different.

Giroux combines a background in urban street culture with an MFA in painting from the University of Houston. The work in this show pays homage to post-World War II gestural painting, that is, Abstract Expressionism. There is a bit of irony here, however, in that classic Abstract Expressionism as embodied by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning involved spontaneous gestures, and Giroux’s work is anything but. Although the creation of “Chopped and Screwed Vol 3” appears to include some paint-flinging, it seems for the most part to be a product of laborious process of taping, painting, and spraying, followed by more taping, painting, and spraying.

A posted statement describes Giroux as “a scavenger of incidental gestures and lowbrow symbolism from the urban streetscape,” yet it cites as influences the black and white paintings of de Kooning, as well as those by Franz Kline and Ad Reinhardt. The show’s title — "Chopped and Screwed" — refers to a hip-hop music technique that was developed in Houston by the now-deceased DJ Screw, in which music was remixed by beat-skipping, record scratching, and stopping and starting to make a "chopped-up" version of the original. In a way, Giroux does th same thing to Abstract Expressionism, chopping and screwing it into something new. In his recent paintings, he has come up with a savvy style that combines elements of Abstract Expressionism with the look of contemporary urban street art.

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