Seeing the Light in Jimi Gleason’s Metallic Minimalism

Saturated in iridescent shades of emerald, cerulean, and shimmering pink, Jimi Gleason’s canvases seem to glow from within. Each piece hides a spark behind metallic hues of copper, gold, or silver. These large-scale works don’t exist in a vacuum; in the show “Surface and Light,” their bold minimalist forms are reflected onto the high-gloss floors of the William Turner Gallery in Santa Monica, California.

Using nontraditional methods he has developed over the past decade, the L.A.–based artist generates depth and texture in his work by dragging layers of paint across an oversized canvas with help from a combination of tools, including a giant squeegee. He then treats these acrylic-coated canvases with a chemical mixture—an innovative technique that involves spraying the canvas with an industrial silver nitrate solution.

The mirrorlike result is an enigmatic surface at play with everything—light, color, form, texture, and perspective. “By using an iridescent surface coat, I have managed to create visual spaces that respond to both the play of light and the location of the viewer,” Gleason has said. New tones and textures emerge with changes in perspective, and each piece is constantly interacting with light and surroundings. With titles like Haleiwa (2016) and Pua’Ena Point (2015), the atmospheric works invoke the spirit of places in Hawaii and beyond.

A native of Southern California, Gleason spent five years as a studio assistant for the abstract painter Ed Moses. Though Gleason’s meditative forms and hard-edged geometric planes may be somewhat reminiscent of pieces by Kenneth Noland and Ellsworth Kelly, his vibrant works have a luminosity all their own.


—Jennifer Baum Lagdameo


Jimi Gleason: Surface and Light” is on view at William Turner Gallery, Santa Monica, California, Jan. 30th–Mar. 19th.

Discover more artists at William Turner Gallery.

Share article