David Wetzl and Kim Squaglia make an ideal pairing in their joint exhibit at Jay Jay. Wetzl's hyperactive compositions with references to cubism, surrealism, pop art, animation and technical drawing fit nicely with Squaglia's less-congested but equally compelling mixtures of pop and abstraction.
Wetzl, whose work is included in the Crocker Art Museum Collection, is a prominent Sacramento artist who teaches at California State University, Sacramento. Over the years, his idiosyncratic work has developed in richness and complexity, as is evident from his current offering "S.C.I.P. Told Me: Ego Art."
S.C.I.P. is a quixotic creature who is Wetzl's alter ego and often appears in his paintings as an oval or cubist eye. Dealing with the inner workings of the mind and the evolution of the spirit, Wetzl takes his all- seeing alter ego through a symbolic landscape with a color-coded system based on the psychological theories of Ken Wilber, author of "Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution."
I can't pretend to understand all or even many of the philosophical ramifications of Wetzl's work, but I can appreciate the intense color, fascinating forms and energetic graphology of his paintings, many of which are done in acrylic on wood panels.
"D-dub Is Viewing Global Elements That are Reluctantly Evolving Beyond the Mod and Pre-Mod Realm" is a large-scale painting with a horizontal format that moves from a kind of abstracted head on the left, through a fictive landscape with clusters of atoms, rolling purple swathes, geometric passages, architectonic forms and a patterned green network. It's an impressive tour de force that, while puzzling, is visually engaging and rich in imagery.
"S.C.I.P. Moves Downward Into the Po Mod Zone to View and Save the Distraught and Economic World" is an acrylic painting on shaped wood panel in which Wetzl's alter ego looks on with a benign grin. Also present are a tribal mask and a rudimentary perspective exercise. Intense hues of turquoise, cobalt, green and yellow saturate the viewer's eye, which is then drawn into the layered complexities of the piece.
"Integral Upwardly Moving Logo," in acrylic and ink on Bristol board, gives us a smeary gestural black-and-white ground with architectural lines inscribed and a jaunty though inscrutable logo. Wetzl introduces digital technology in works like "I.M. Mind, Ego and Animalistic Body," giving us a complicated, multilayered images with photographic passages. Some of his smaller works, which mix acrylics, ink and digital imagery, resemble Persian miniatures in the beauty of their coloration and patterns.
Mixing politics, philosophy and critical theory in art, Wetzl's works also fit into the Northern California realm of myth-making. While his images and stories are more arcane than David Gilhooly's frog kingdoms or Clayton Bailey's robot world, they partake of the same spirit, though on a more intellectual level.
Squaglia's work has become very fashionable in the design and architecture communities of Sacramento as well as throughout the Western states, having been commissioned for Neiman Marcus stores. Her glossy resin and oil on wood paintings range from large-scale pieces such as "Unrequited," a bold work in black and white with icy blue linear touches, to "Vert II," a small blue-black rectangle with hanging, netlike forms.
"Tropez" is a wonderfully complex image of a dahlialike flower with overlapping petals in cool tones punctuated by black and white. It has the punch of pop art and the beauty of botanicals. Similar is "Delano," another dahlialike image with pale colors as lovely as the pastel coatings on Jordan almonds.
"Volvere" is a large piece with Klimpt-like forms bracketing passages of stringy doodles in bubble-gum pink on a gray ground. Round markings like planets with rings or bubbles pop up in places. While Squaglia's work is decorative, it reaches further into a kind of fantasy realm that leaves you wishing you could dwell there a little longer.
DAVID WETZL AND KIM SQUAGLIA
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday or by appointment, through Dec. 22.
Where: Jay Jay, 5520 Elvas Ave., Sacramento
Information: (916) 453-2999