02.20.14 Press

Artsy features Jason Gringler in profile of 3 artists with studios at 17-17 Troutman


Interview by Marina Cashdan. Photos by Alex John Beck.

Read on Artsy.


We’ve been following Jason Gringler since his 2012 solo show at Brand New Gallery, where the Toronto-born, New York-based artist filled the Milan gallery’s wall with a grid of shimmering, fragmented mirrors. Regarded as one to watch among a new generation of artists who challenge the traditions of classical painting, Gringler employs smashed mirrors and spray paint, broken Plexiglas and steel frames to forge new territory in contemporary abstraction. In time for his new exhibition in Cologne (featuring a 16-foot prismatic installation) and in advance of his solo show with New York City’s Denny Gallery (slated for September 2014 and to feature a 1,000-pound, moiré-like installation of steel mesh and mirrored glass), we paid a visit to Gringler’s industrial Queens studio. Situated along a dark corridor of 1717 Troutman Street, Gringler’s studio is flooded with light, strewn with shards of shattered glass, and furnished with a bandsaw, a mirrored workbench, and even a punching bag. We knocked on Gringler’s door (where thoughtful neighbors often leave sheets of Plexi) for a chat with the artist and a step-by-step tour through the making of his sought-after works.


“I start by gluing a sheet of Plexiglas into the steel frame, which a welder makes for me. From there, I take a piece of glass and I tape it up a bit, and I smash it to create different kinds of lines. That gives a background for the works, and also creates another layer of depth; the works typically have four to seven layers of glass and Plexi sandwiched together. From there I usually take spray lacquer, and I spray the surface of the glass and then rub it away. That fills in the cracks. Then I take a liquid plastic, like an epoxy resin, which, when poured onto glass, fills the cracks and makes it secure.

Last, I put it up on the wall and I start working on it from the front. A lot of the things that I do initially are part of the background, but I can’t see what I’m doing so there’s an element of chance in there. Once it goes up on the wall, the work is very controlled, it’s very precise, and it’s very specific.”

Work Stations


“This is where I cut the Plexi. I score the Plexi with this straight edge and snap it. The marks are where the knife comes off the Plexi that I’ve cut; eventually I turn these workbenches into sculptural objects. You can see this one is a ‘T’ shape, and it’s referenced back into the shape of some of the compositions in the work.”

Prep table:

“This is generally where all the prep takes place. When the epoxy is wet you have about 30 minutes of working time, so I like to have the materials as accessible as possible should I want to use them. Leftovers from things I’ve destroyed remain here, in case while I’m prepping I want to use some. And I do my collages here. ”


“I started using the bandsaw to try and reduce the repetitive injuries that I was having from cutting everything by hand. Cutting small pieces of Plexi requires a lot of pressure from the hands and arms.”

Wall space for works in progress:

“Beyond just prepping it on the floor, 90 percent of the time the work is on the wall. Across from the wall space is a traditional painter’s chair. I’m trying not to keep much furniture in here because I don’t want it to be a comfortable environment. That prevents me from being lazy.”



“I’ve been working with Plexiglas, glass, and epoxy since 2007. The beauty of Plexi is you can work from behind, so it allows for much of the painterly chance that I don’t usually have. These works are really digging at the trajectory of painting and its history, though coming at it without using traditional materials. Unlike glass and mirrors, Plexi is not disposed of very often, so for the most part it needs to be purchased and so the work can be expensive to make. However, sometimes people in the building leave Plexi outside my door, and I like to incorporate that into the work.”

Paints, Adhesives 

“When you glue Plexi, you’re using this chemical called Plexi-weld, which molecularly bonds the Plexi together. So I use a syringe and run it along the Plexiglas. I have sandpaper for sanding edges, gloves because of the chemicals, some spray paints. The most important tools are the syringe, the rags, and the safety goggles.”


“I print out photographs of my work and of the studio and I make collages from those printouts. Those basically become the studies for the larger works. So the practice is constantly circling in on itself and is constantly recycled. I take photos all the time; but I’ll take the photos and delete them almost immediately after. It’s just so I can burn that image into my mind so that I can stew on it once I leave.”


“Sculpture was initially my interest when I entered my undergrad. But I don’t think I have enough patience to actually work three-dimensionally, so painting became really interesting for me as a way through sculpture.”



I get up, I go to the gym, and I come here where I work for six to eight hours. I’m always moving in here because the practice is essentially station-based—where I cut, where I spray, where I adhere. And so I’m moving back and forth, cycling between these stations at all times.”

Studio Atmosphere

“I always have music playing‚ currently the Liars. And natural light is basically the only way I like to work, so I try to get the majority of the work done during the day, on a daylight schedule.”



“I’m always digesting and assembling different parts of art history or contemporary art. I like to know what’s going on, and I like to let that affect the work and let the work take shape over time, which is why it’s always changing.”

Aggression / Violence

“The punching bag is there for a reason. I have a history of destroying works—works that aren’t successful, works that I don’t like; it’s an emotional thing. Then I recycle those materials that I destroyed into the next works. However, in an attempt to stop that kind of behavior, that’s where the bag comes in very handy. But on the flip side of that, as much as the work can look destructive, it’s actually very particular: every mark you see in the work is placed there. For example, the glass wasn’t broken by punching it; it’s broken in a very specific way and then reassembled.”

Mirrors and Reflective Materials

“I really like the idea of the work not necessarily being a static object, and the idea that when a viewer is looking at the work they can have a semi-cinematic experience, so as they move around the work, the work’s flickering, changing. It also brings the architecture of the space into the room; wherever you place the work, it’s different than where it was before. And then the viewer has a little bit of a struggle between seeing the reflective world, seeing themselves, and actually getting into the detail of the work. I feel like maybe it pushes people away, but sometimes it brings them in a little bit closer; maybe they look a little bit longer.”

The Recurring ‘X’

“It has a lot of meanings, both strong and soft. I started using the ‘X’ when I started using mirrors and reflective materials. I wanted something that would push away while simultaneously the mirror was bringing things into the work. Eventually I exhausted that composition; it’s pretty limited. So the ‘X’ dissolved into other compositional devices, like the stretcher bars. So right now these compositions are generally based on the angles of the frames. So when I exhaust compositional choices, I’ll take a work that I really like, and I’ll try and replicate it. Instead of just stepping back from it, I want to continue that process of working, so I’ll make ‘copies.’ I’ve been doing them since around 2005, just as a way to keep working through things and to keep things perpetually moving.”

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