Richard Garrison: Off The Shelf
Opening reception: September 11, 2015, 6-9pm
Product Packaging Color Match (Garrison Household, January-April 2015), 2015
Watercolor, gouache and graphite on paper
34.5" x 60" (87.6cm x 1.5m)
©2015 Richard Garrison/Robert Henry Contemporary
Off the Shelf, Richard Garrison’s third exhibition with the gallery, continues his deconstruction and analysis of ubiquitous materials, objects and places from the suburban, most often consumer related, American landscape, such as Sunday newspaper sale circulars, parking lot colors, colors of product packaging, etc. Garrison's recontextualization of aspects of consumer culture affords us a new perspective on commonplace objects, places and experiences.
In his series titled Circular Color Schemes, (puns intended), Mr. Garrison measures the amount of each color from Sunday newspaper sale circulars and then in concentric rings of color graphs the amount of each color in gouache and watercolor on paper. Each wedge of color in the circle is marked as to which picture of the product it originates from, like "frozen chicken" or "flat-screen T.V." The resulting compositions look like a cross between a color wheel and a Joseph Albers painting.
In his Parking Lot Spaces series Garrison takes photos of every parking lot space his vehicle occupies over a several month period. He notes the location, time and date that each parking space was occupied. Back in the studio Garrison, using gouache and watercolor, matches the color of each parking lot pavement photograph and paints that in a grid with notations of location, time and date below the color. The proportion of the rectangles are based on the average size of the parking spaces in the lots that he visits.
The Product Package series takes this process of analysis but instead of rendering each composition in paint, Garrison collages pieces of cereal boxes, garbage bag boxes or any printed cardboard packaging cut into regular rectangles, triangles or squares. These geometric abstractions are composed using only product packaging that comes into the Garrison household through the ordinary process of living, the buying of products needed for everyday life in suburbia, and are dated. So, they act as a record of the amount of any given color that comes into his home.
Related to the Product Packaging series is a new body of work making its debut in this exhibition called Product Packaging Color Match. Garrison collects and saves every cardboard product package that he and his family bought and consumed in chronological order from the first product package that is emptied to the last of a given period of time. He then sets about matching in gouache and watercolor every color from the front of every box saved. Painted and numbered from the top left to the bottom right of each composition, with the products and their corresponding numbers listed at the bottom of the composition, the grids of color undulate and the random juxtapositions of hundreds and thousands of colors document the intensity and variety of color in the American consumer experience.
Garrison’s Shopping Cart Inertia drawings are created from the movement of shopping carts as he locates the items pictured in each store’s sales circulars. He built a wooden box, which he secures and levels into a shopping cart. A pen-holder on ball bearings placed inside the box shakes and jitters like a trolley across a piece of paper as he searches for each item advertised in the sales circular. The products are then listed at the bottom of the page in the order presented in the circular. The resulting erratic array of tangled lines and black inkblots are characteristic of Surrealist automatic drawing also reference Jackson Pollock or Franz Klein.
Through a process of careful scientific-like scrutiny Garrison dissects and restructures the color schemes of common everyday objects, places and experiences. His Minimalist compositions expose the beauty in the banal. Coupled with Hanne Darboven-like analytical quantification and qualification his studio practice offers us a thoughtful re-examination of objects and experiences ubiquitous to the American experience. This deconstruction of quotidian objects and experience is a personal, non-judgmental, examination of the visual, emotional and conceptual aspects of consumerism.