One glib yet effective way of describing the work of Jay Giroux - an artist with a background in skate and street culture who holds an MFA in painting from the University of Houston - is to call it "highbrow meets lowbrow." The Brooklyn artist's first solo show at Devin Borden Gallery, titled "Ideas Are Free," explores that dynamic as he marries aspects of pop culture with high formalism. Indeed, the first piece you encounter, Skate Stopped Pedestal, is composed of a wooden pedestal topped by aluminum "skatestoppers" - brackets that are meant to deter skateboarders from skating on curbs or handrails by eliminating smooth surfaces. It's as minimal as they come yet loaded with references.
Beyond this sculpture, paintings make up the bulk of the show, and Giroux experiments with acrylic, wax, oil, enamel and color pencil in his colorful, layered works - some of which are just about color. The four squares C, M, Y and K form a tetraptych that's based on the color model used in printing - cyan, magenta, yellow and key (or black) - and are arranged in a column.
Other works aren’t as neat. Monster Girls (Wax Atmosphere) and Monster Girls (Neon Lights) are messy, busy paintings that leave hints of what's below the surface - blond girls with sunglasses - as if they're street advertisements layered in graffiti. Works like Stay Focused and Hard in the Paint follow in this loud street-art aesthetic - spray cans and all.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Through August 3. 3917 Main. For information, call 713‑256-0225 or visit devinborden.com. Free.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Starts: July 9. Continues through Aug. 3, 2013