Gallery 1261 is proud to present our third solo exhibition by gallery artist Gregory Block. As one of the most promising realist painters in the Colorado area, this exhibition serves to show his deep knowledge and understanding of the style in which he paints, highlighting how dedicated he is to his chosen craft and to his incredible talent. The exhibition begins on October 14th and runs through November 5th, with the opening reception on Friday, October 14th, from 6-9 pm. Many of the works in this exhibition will be still-life based oil paintings, a genre in which he has been honing his craft since we began showing his work.
In order to fully understand the depth and breadth of themes that Block explores in his work, it is best to hear it from the artist himself. On the subject of still life painting Block explains the historical underpinnings, noting that “[s]till life painting and food have gone hand-in-hand for millennia,” and drawing connections to the ancient Egyptians, who “decorated the inside of tombs with paintings of food to enliven and sustain the deceased in the afterlife” as well as the Dutch painters of the 16th century and others who “famously refined the practice, with a focus decidedly more on enriching the lives of the living rather than the dead.” Block takes inspiration from these movements in his works, the Dutch influence being especially evident in his use of dramatic lighting and unique compositional arrangements.
On the subject of composition, Block says “as with any recipe, a painting, whether abstract, photorealistic, or anything in between, must use a coherent set of ingredients to achieve a successful composition. A weak composition can be just as disappointing as a flat soufflé; too much red can be just as overpowering as too much cayenne.” This extended metaphor—recipes as paintings—is a refreshing way to think of painting. In summation, Block notes that “each piece provides a fresh and unique puzzle, and when a painting is complete, each setup provides a perhaps not-so-fresh but undeniably unique meal.” There is a balance to be found when arranging the elements in a painting, just as in cooking.
Alternative to the still life series, Block has also taken up creating works with a lesser-known medium: aluminum cans. He takes the emptied vessels, cuts and scorches them, and then collages them into depictions of maps, or abstracted compositions. In pieces like “Explorer’s Map” we get a fully detailed view of the world, with the cans burned to varying degrees to express the different elements on view. While this series may be the lesser known in terms of Block’s artistic oeuvre, it serves to highlight, again, just how much thought, planning, and craftsmanship goes into his work.
Block’s paintings are something to be in awe of. His ability to create absolutely stunning compositions coupled with his jaw-dropping execution render the viewer impressed, to say the least. While the genre of still life painting may not be new, Block has found a way to create his own body of work within the genre that stands independently, stunning, and captivating all who come to see it.