4 April 2008 6:52 PM
More so than wax, control keeps together the found objects and photocopies of Joyce Gralak’s mixed media works. It’s a strategy the artist avows up front, titling a delicate juxtaposition of 1950s imagery—shirtdress, dainty ladies pump, little gold beads, a plastic horse—with the declaration "Under Control." Wax, as so eminently proved by Jasper Johns, makes the most paradoxical of materials, at once tender and mummifying, loving and constraining. In Galak’s recycler’s hands, it serves to both gather, select, order, and present a vast range of odd images and objects. Sometimes, as in "Half Full," the effect is one of too much divide and separation, closing down any dialogue that might occur between the mushrooms, butterflies, and tomatoes. In works like "Cocky Locky Takes a Drag," however, Gralak’s tactics result in an unexpected layering that opens up a chain of signifiers, encouraging messiness and discourse, allowing the viewer to listen in on the strangest of conversations.