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Anyone who’s ever been stuck on a sweaty subway platform waiting for the F train to (never) come will find the work of artist Greg Gummersall instantly familiar, reminiscent of the wall you’ve been staring at for the last thirty minutes, covered in scribbled graffiti and wheatpasted ads shredded to bits, some layers peeled away, while others stubbornly refuse to leave.
Creating lines and scratching with pens, pencils, nails, and oil sticks, Gummersall’s pieces are like chaos’ war on order. Plumes of color rise above and behind streaks of running paint, smudged and leaking, scribbled and looping. Occasionally, Gummersall uses mixed media collage, wherein his storms of paint consume recognizable figures, turning them into abstract notions of distant realities.
Influenced by artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly, Gummersall’s work shares a similar faux-infancy, where structure seems nonexistent and form an afterthought. It is more gestural than precise, resulting in art that indirect and emotive… kind of like how you feel when the train finally comes after 30 minutes of waiting and you’ve already missed your meeting—but with less low-brow internal swearing.
Gummersall paints what you can’t quite articulate in words, which is probably for the best.
Images courtesy of Bruce Lurie Gallery and the artist.