Wikipedia defines alchemy as "a process by which paradoxical results are achieved or incompatible elements combined with no obvious rational explanation". Another definition of alchemy is the "search for a method to turn dross into gold".
For over 20 years Grey Zeien has produced work by combining compatible elements, letting the inherent differences in the media act and counteract with each other, creating surface tensions that cannot be planned or completely controlled.
Bending and shaping these disparate media, Zeien makes paintings that are engaging in their bold color, sophisticated in their structure, sometimes revelatory and at times even whimsical.Oil paints combined and layered over acrylics, mixed with water-based inks and dyes create effects that no sleight of hand can completely control.
The addition of gold leaf in this show of new works add yet another layer of surface tension. The flat reflective gold icons stand apart from the roiling surface underneath. In the larger images, the myriad of small gold icons float above the environment that threatens to overwhelm them. In the smaller works, the icons dominate the picture. What the icons depict and what their relationship to each other means, has an individual resonance and story for each individual viewer to decipher in their own terms.
In his sculpture, says Zeien, "I seek to turn found, discarded objects into art. By reclaiming and transforming "garbage", I show the beauty that is inherent in the most commonplace object. "
This recycling is alchemy indeed.
Al/che/my is on view at BAU Gallery from Saturday September 8 through Sunday, October 7. Please note the artist's reception will be held on Friday September 14, at 6pm. The gallery is open weekends, noon through 6pm. Visit baugallery.com for more information.