With the Aid of Technology, a Pioneering Painter Reworks His Own Canvases

Jedd Garet’s new works conjure an otherworldly scenario filled with churning oceans and storms, pools of intricate patterns, and atmospheres doused in silver or green. Informed by Surrealism and aligned with Neo-Expressionism artist Garet made a name for himself as a young artist, as a part of the “new painting” movement of the 1980s. His early career was centered around his offbeat reinterpretations of classic paintings, specifically those of the surrealist Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico. Three decades on, Garet’s sense of innovation has not wavered—which is evidenced through a show of fresh new work, “Four Days in a Well,” at Wirtz Art in Oakland.

When viewing his newest pieces, one thing’s clear: Garet excels at the art of reimagining and rethinking both artistic concepts and existing artworks. And while his early paintings were based on de Chirico, his latest works are based on his own past works. Taking full advantage of a wide range of innovations and tools of the digital age, Garet doesn’t just work on the canvas itself, but with technology. 

The result is a series of works (executed in archival pigment on canvas) interlaced with geometric patterns, at turns eerie and psychedelic, that seem to manipulate and disturb otherwise placid scenes from the natural world. While recalling the artist’s works from the ’80s, and retaining surrealist elements, these works reflect the sleek, contemporary aesthetics of the digital age. With the use of digital media, he infuses a sense of panic into the landscapes and natural scenes here: a reflective surface and a wave of water seem to be bended or distorted in Seascape for W (2014) and Creamy (2014). A Zen-like landscape takes on a flat, metallic feel in Sunset (2014). Gravity itself is upended in works like Forgotten Title (2015) and Upside Down Trees (2015). 

Garet is, in his own words, not interested in repeating himself, but in pushing forward. “I’m not moved by art that chases its own tail, that comments in a closed echo-chamber,” he wrote in his artist’s statement. “What I am attempting to create is an art unlimited, multiplying, spawning, seething with surprising life.” There’s surprising life, indeed, in this ambitious new collection of works—in the works, yes, and in this artist himself, who’s revealing another dimension to his creative practice, decades after first entering onto the scene.


Bridget Gleeson

Four Days in a Well,” is on view at Wirtz Art, Oakland, Oct. 21st – Dec. 15th, 2015.


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