In Spatial Soother, Jigger Cruz’s latest one-man show at West Gallery, his attention is drawn toward the interlocking of different sides of traditional perspectives, focusing on the contrast between immaterial appearance and apparently tangible materiality, and dramatizing negative space through shapes and extreme contrasts. Continues Cruz, “These series of new works challenge the typical connotations of what painting is, or could be, with the absence of meaning itself: Paintings often appear as objects rather than images.” He squeezes out images from what gestures are capable of communicating by pushing these pieces into unfamiliar territory and pulling further from [artistic] tradition. Cruz describes his new works as more dynamic and aggressive than what he has done in the past, letting different shapes, textures, colors, and dynamic surfaces dictate the tone. The title piece, “Spatial Soother,” for example, has been cropped to bring out the negative and a dead space at the center, and serve as a jump-off point of the concept. The missing space serves to reconstruct the painting to a new form of abstraction, and reassembles a new meaning for the context itself. Cruz adds, “It shows that painting is becoming a highly restricted language in the sense of ‘universalizing,’ whereas expressionism in any kind implies a process of individuation.” While the execution may appear spontaneous at first glance, Cruz reveals that most of his works started with a plan, which includes dismantling and rebuilding layers to create another kind of form. His process mainly involves striking a balance between making intentional shapes and spontaneously painting gestural stains. And he plans to continue experimenting and broaden the palette through which he can be most expressive.