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May we suggest

Reviews / May 20, 2010

Kelly Jazvac: Vinyl Virtuoso

Kelly Jazvac “New Vinyl Work” 2010 Installation view Courtesy Diaz Contemporary / photo Toni Hafkenscheid

“New Vinyl Work” by Kelly Jazvac, which closed at Diaz Contemporary this month, was an intelligent show, rich with implicit references and quotations.

Jazvac’s candy-coloured, abstract visual language is the product of her chosen material, adhesive vinyl. Commonly used for window signage and other temporary graphic displays, adhesive vinyl is synonymous with blowout sales and branding. Jazvac collects vinyl roll-ends and scraps, and uses them to create playful, textured, minimal objects that seduce the viewer with their glossy shine.

There’s something raw and childlike about her creations. Colour Wheel is a small, spiralling spectrum of coloured vinyl strips. It hung high on the left-hand corner of the gallery’s longest wall, looking like the archetypal sun that appears in children’s landscape doodles. It is sweet and simple, and that is refreshing.

Jazvac’s larger, more textile-like wall hangings seem to extend the conversation started by Robert Rauschenberg. They bear a striking family resemblance to his Bed; they are heavy and sculptural and somehow organic in feel considering their industrial makeup.

The bright palette and lighthearted personality of Jazvac’s new work, however, is more specifically reminiscent of Rauschenberg’s Gluts, a series of sculptural works done between 1986 and 1995. These works were on display last summer at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, where Jazvac spent some time in June as part of the second Reverse Pedagogy residency.

Rauschenberg’s Gluts were made as a reaction to the recession that hit Texas in the mid-1980s due to a surplus of available oil. The term glut refers to a flooded market and is easily extended to read as gluttony. Made of bed frames, exhaust pipes, discarded street signs and other pieces of scrap metal that the artist foraged from the Gulf Iron and Metal Junkyard outside Fort Myers, Florida, Rauschenberg’s Gluts are poetic, whimsical compositions.

Jazvac’s process of collecting and creating is similar. She categorizes her found adhesive vinyl scraps by colour, which results in notable monochromatic experiments. Cache is a green three-dimensional landscape; Kick is an angled form that jutted from the gallery floor covered in bright white vinyl; and Butterscotch is a field of browns and creams. Likewise, Rauschenberg’s Gluts are also primarily explorations of colour, and they are often named accordingly. Sunset Yellow Glut, for example, is a tangle of yellow metal strips.

Overall, in a season of grey skies and rain, Jazvac’s show offered a sparkling jolt of energy, colour and humour.