The works of painter Roger Kizik, on display at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery, are unabashedly bold in choice of color, gesture and texture. There is a macho athleticism sometimes inherent in his technique - and that should not be misunderstood as a pejorative - that often involves working on unstretched canvases directly on the floor, pouring and manipulating watered-down acrylics in the fashion of the action painters of old.
Kizik, who lives in the coastal farming (and increasingly suburban) community of South Dartmouth, Mass., has a strong affinity for the ocean, and although his paintings often present a seaside theme, they arise above marine kitsch by power of a well-honed draftsmanship, as well as an unblinking and unapologetic use of actual nautical items such as seashells, rope and a fragment of a lobster trap. The objects adhered to the surfaces of some paintings often project out into the third-dimension, not unlike a Rauschenberg wall- mounted combine.
In his painting “Glock,” a heavy impasto of baby blue sky dabbed with streaks of Pepto-Bismol pink appears as thickly knife-spread and cloyingly sweet as a birthday cake icing. But that sweetness is shattered by the imagery below — a roughly drawn but strangely evocative trailer on a landscape of beach stone littered with an assortment of debris, much of which could be understood as a visual shorthand for the rubble of a certain kind of manliness: an empty liquor bottle, a broken hockey stick, an automobile tire and the protruding corner of a metal lobster trap. Most ominous of all is the unexplained presence of a Glock, America’s ubiquitous handgun of choice.
Kizik’s “Graveyard” sticks with the theme of nautical decay. Heavy- handed globs of forest and kelly greens suggest an overgrowth of untamed vegetation claiming an old and dilapidated cabin cruiser propped on boat stands. The boat stands are a cleverly collaged element, cut from thin sheets of aluminum. Nearby, a smaller boat lies on its side, belly exposed. Kizik has adhered real mollusk shells — scallop, oyster, quahog — to the surface of the painting, which in the hands of a less sure talent would appear clumsy or campy.”