Horton Gallery, with its evocatively titled two-person show Evil Dead 2, pays homage to Romero’s glorious second stab by exploring expansive and ever-mutable revision. The setup seems sitcom-like; two artists and friends from Brooklyn display their process-heavy paintings shoulder to shoulder in a kind of Oscar/Felix cohabitation. Matt Jones is deep and celestial (the messy one), while gallery-mate Kadar Brock aims towards a final inanimate cleanliness (Felix).
Brock’s canvases are the result of violently scouring and gouging older works to reveal a brittle, bone-colored surface pitted with holes. Not strictly subtractive, Brock adds synthetic neon sheens reminiscent of mini golf courses, Myrtle Beach and the mottled underside of skateboards. These nostalgic associations, aimed so heart-wrenchingly at the 90’s shaped hole in my heart, are belied by the obsessive and superficially embarrassed gesture of Brock erasing his past. The older work (colorful patterned paintings with compositions derived from Dungeons and Dragons) is literally expunged or “whitewashed” from his youthful oeuvre. Brock’s paintings are in a constant state of flux, and this latest iteration seems like the fragile and abused last stop. But maybe it’s not. The cheery anchor to Brock’s practice is that his constantly shifting system of reuse avoids preciousness, entropy and stagnation. Which is not completely unlike Romero’s lingering, pervasive spirit world.
Matt Jones meanwhile, displays large meandering starscapes that relay a surprising illusory depth. His “Energy Paintings,” made onsite, hint at a deeper, mystical method of mark making. On his website, Jones states:
“We live in a universe piled on other universes, each expanding a multiverse of near infinite possibilities and potential.”
Jones’ paintings seem like the natural outpouring of a curious adventurer who is still convinced that art is porous, open and navigable. The immediacy of his process is echoed by works that are seemingly unencumbered/unconcerned by their size and objecthood.
The artists’ paintings enjoy a kind of playful fraternity, hung glibly over doorframes and directly next to one another. Both are invested in capturing a zeitgeist of spirit through games of process and chance. And both distance themselves from the cynicism of art production to arrive at a surprisingly sweet and reverential take on painting.