Necessary to this project is the image of the sunset, which is portrayed in Crack is Wack / French Antilles, a tiny oil painting whose surface is cracked and rippled like a dried riverbed, a literal shattering of the notion of paradise. Again the sunset appears in Death in Venice Beach, a half-melted image complete with retro boardwalk-inspired graphics and a halo of light provided by fluorescent fixtures attached to the back of the canvas.
This glowing representation of light carries through Gruzis’ works on paper, which range from large-scale black and white images, to completely abstract, heavily-layered polychromes. An unset digital clock, a backlit skull cradling a pineapple, and a shadowy floating “kiss” hang in tandem with bright, rainbow-like watercolors to form a group of work that cultivates a Noir sensibility and annotates it with instances of tone and hue. With Bouquet of Flowers In An Urn (After Jan Van Huysum, Tile Version), Gruzis portrays a dripping bouquet painted on tile, simultaneously referencing trompe l’oeil, public graffiti, and the Dutch still-life.