Asya Geisberg Gallery is proud to present “Jaunty Juke”, the second solo exhibition of Ricardo Gonzalez. Comprised of expressionistic paintings and an ongoing series of charcoal drawings with a focus on line and gesture, this exhibition is populated by Gonzalez’s familiar figures, drawn swiftly to represent a frenzied state. Gonzalez, a musician turned painter, connects the intuitive nature of jamming and music’s physical expression through the body to the process of drawing, as he searches to recreate that wave of pure expression in his art: a euphoric state, so concentrated as to be on the verge of collapse, and the precipice to chaos. Obsessively drawing similar motifs, the artist aims for a perfection that arrives from working nonstop at a high speed from start to finish. The apex of these experiments come with a series of frenzied works, where the figure is dispersed and recombined into a series of riffs on face, gesture, and body.
As in the artist’s earlier exhibition, black is not just the positive presence in the blank white page, but a character in and of itself, striking us with its power throughout the exhibition. Instead of the usual definition of black as the antithesis of color, its virtual absence, in “Jaunty Juke” black is as nuanced and strong as any of the chroma surrounding the work.
Gonzalez uses the limitation of the paper’s edge as an animated space that figures inhabit fully, pressing against, or running in and out, as if breaking through the theatrical fourth wall. Sinewy legs sprout oversized boots, while an elongated tubular mark evolves into three massive fingers. In more minimal compositions, one line, however brisk, suggests a whole narrative of implied action, character, and nuance. Some manic drawings show severed bodily fragments, absurdly linked, such as a hand incongruously sprouting into eyes. Influenced by outsider art, repetitive doodling, or children’s art, and Modern movements that tried to recreate the automatic nature of all of these, Gonzalez’s works suggest a fevered dream in which we only remember the most jarring elements - the evil grin, the teeth too large, the menacing hand gesture, the pure emotion rather than the details that upon morning’s reflection don’t add up. His practice of constant drawing throughout his career, whether in sketchbooks or incessant series of individual works, celebrates the nature of the medium: mark and line become synonymous with psyche, as the artist tries over and over, paradoxically, to show a lack of effort.