In Melting Point, the LA-based artist Jimi Gleason continues to expand on what Peter Frank, in a groundbreaking 2008 essay, called “Flow Painting.” Frank coined the term to designate a group of mostly Southern California painters who balance chance and order in their investigations of paint’s material properties. Frank focused mainly on the liquid qualities of paint, but those same properties, he noted, can also be used to evoke any number of states or sensations. Within this subcategory of process painting, Gleason occupies a unique niche.
Why he felt compelled to place a geometric form against his trademark surfaces is unclear. But, if you set aside the bling factor and the historicizing effect of that particular shape there is an overarching appeal to these works. It has to do with the blurry reflections cast by the surfaces and impossibility of bringing your own reflection into focus. The question begged is, why is a mirror not a mirror? As phenomenological queries go, it’s first-rate; you can dance around these paintings all day, reveling in their tinted, anamorphic effects, and still not find an image you can shave by. That I admire. It’s the diamonds I find distracting.