Magazine article Southwest Art

Gregory Block

Magazine article Southwest Art

Gregory Block

Article excerpt

Gallery 1261, September 19-October 18

YOU WON'T FIND a title affixed to the latest show of more than a dozen recent oil paintings by Gregory Block, which launches with a reception on September 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Gallery 1261. That lack of a label deliberately reflects the 28-year-old artist's wide-ranging interests, questing spirit, and unwillingness to be pinned down.

Visitors to the show can find atmospheric street scenes of old Morocco, inspired by a recent trip Block made to the North African nation. "I was really struck in particular with the architecture there," says Block, who is attending the opening. Alongside those scenes hang shadowy still-life paintings including AMERICANA, which conjures its own moody sense of closer-up reality-along with a touch of surrealism through its unlikely juxtaposition of objects crammed into cubbyholes. These include an oil lamp, jumbles of paper, an open cigarette package, a taped-up cardboard box, and a pristine copy of The Joy of Cooking. "I've been working on approaching the edge of trompe l'oeil," observes the self-taught artist, "so you'll feel as if you can almost reach in and grab items or wipe the dust off the shelf."

Still other works in the show are tightly composed landscapes executed in a finely rendered style Block describes as "contemporary realism." Yet these, too, possess deeper shades of meaning, having found their inspiration in two of the four concerti that make up Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. "I'm just really interested," Block says, "in how visual art, like music, can create a mood and a setting. …

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