Allow us to introduce the amazing work of artist Jason Gringler and his artistic interactions with transparent glass surfaces, opaque mirrors and varied raw material. He presents different phases of material transformation ending with a perfect final appearance by hand.
COR: How do you think the change of your environment affected the way that you produce your work? You moved to Berlin from New York. What impressions did you receive in these cities -surrounding and social-wise?
Jason Gringler: My relocation to Berlin presented a different set of challenges in comparison to my initial departure from Toronto to New York. The language barrier is an obvious problem when trying to find and set up a new studio; One benefit, although I only realize this in retrospect, is that I slowed down considerably when I arrived in Berlin. The transition allowed me to change as an individual but also to allow myself space to change my work. Before Covid-19, Berlin life was fun, social and relaxing after living in Brooklyn for a decade. I had never given myself so much time for reflection and discovery as well as unabashed indulgence in new people. I imagine many are now deliberating their possible futures post Covid-19; my thoughts are cycling around another geographical change.
COR: Can you tell us about your Eastern European origins?
Jason Gringler: There is not so much to tell – I am first-generation Canadian however I have Polish and Slovakian ancestry. As with many families post WWII, my family moved to North America to piece together their destroyed lives. I do find it odd at times to currently live on the continent that my family left behind.
COR: Your technique is a kind of destruction and re-creation. What is the root of your process? Is your methodology a conscious choice ? Do you expect the outcome ?
Jason Gringler: The destructive aspect of my practice is a reactionary tool that I use to reincorporate failed output. I do not operate my studio with large capital, so in a sense, destruction is more like my studio’s recycling program to eliminate waste. This program forges an enormous amount of freedom for me within different parameters that I have set up over time.
COR: Generally, you work with raw materials like concrete, glass, acrylic and steel. Do these materials have an innate effect on the end result? How did these become your tools of expression?
Jason Gringler: The materials I use (glass, acrylic, concrete) tend to be on the unforgiving side. Once concrete has cured, within reason, it cannot become malleable once again. Acrylic glass cannot be ‘unglued’, etc. I use these types of factors to my advantage; My mistakes have become one of the most exciting parts of producing art works (so much so that at times I attempt to set up situations leading to inevitable failure just so I can investigate what went ‘wrong’). Of course, many artists I know work in this way, but they likely articulate this type of investigation differently.
COR: Who or what shaped your approach to art? Has your approach changed with time?
Jason Gringler: I came to art quite late as a means to distract from my confusion as a young adult. I always drew pictures as a child but I did not consider art seriously until my 20’s with a somewhat impotent education. I suppose I can say that I learned about art mostly online. Once I moved to New York, my real education began and my work evolved. I moved to Brooklyn in 2007. I rented a studio and started my life over. Ten years later I did the same when I moved to Berlin. I dislike most of the work I produce as I never get to where I imagine I would like to be. Perhaps this is the reason I continue.
COR: There are some used technology objects, like shattered iPhones, appearing amongst your work; What is the symbolic significance behind this investigation? Do you produce these pieces in the spirit of social criticism?
Jason Gringler: I tend to avoid political specificity while working or while discussing my interests. I will say, however, that I have come to believe pursuing a lifelong practice as an artist is an unavoidable political act. And this of course is simply my opinion, but I do not feel that our current societal structures and norms (maybe more applicable to North America, but I am uncertain) allow much room for art and artists. As I get older, I prefer to avoid talking about my work.
COR: Can you tell us about the ‘tools’? Are they a type of special equipment to assist with your work?
Jason Gringler: The ‘tools’ are a longer-term project that I recently began using the increasing pile of off-cuts and scrap from around the studio. The number of tools will equal the number of verbs within Richard Serra’s 1967-1968 ‘Verb List’ however, my verbs will be determined by the shape and aesthetic of the tool. These tools suggest extreme brutality and violence. I am a non-violent person however, I have noticed that over the years different bodies of work simulate violent gestures. I am indulging in the idea of violence, anger or rage as possible vehicles for production.
COR: What project(s) are you working on at the moment
Jason Gringler: Covid-19 has placed a lot on hold but I do have some exciting things in the works. I prefer not to share them at the moment.