Micchelli writes: "Dispensing entirely with modernist emotional distancing, Gillespie’s most effective works go well beyond a mere horror of the flesh; in his own private netherworld, any act of intimacy — incarnated in his sensual, exacting brushstrokes — is a step into the abyss... Perhaps the most disturbing paintings in the show are the ones that relinquish multifarious imagery and instead present the artist in unadorned self-portraits...That these two grinning portraits ... were completed the year he took his own life lends them an almost unbearably melancholy edge. The disjunction between their apparently willful good cheer and the descent that followed would seem to embody Gillespie’s professed themes of 'insanity, chaos, weirdness,' compounded by compositions that feel deliberately ungainly, unvarnished and disconcertingly real."
Greg Cook reviews the exhibition Gregory Gillespie: Transfixed at Gallery Naga, Boston, on view through December 15, 2012.
Cook writes that Gillespie was a Massachusetts artist whose "geographical proximity might suggest a stylistic kinship with Boston Expressionists from Hyman Bloom to Henry Schwartz. But his hyper-real self-portraits, squirming landscapes, odd symbolic scenes, and Eastern mandalas fits more easily into the visionary 'Abject Expressionism' that over the past century ran through the work of artists like German Expressionist Otto Dix, Chicagoan Ivan Albright and Los Angeles’ Llyn Foulkes... Gillespie’s best work is itchy and uncanny. He paints a reality that’s not necessarily our reality, but he depicts it so powerfully, so convincingly that his images seem, almost, to be alive."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.