[“Screen” (2011), mixed media on birch panel. “Untitled” (2011), mixed media on canvas. “Untitled” (2011), oil on canvas. “Untitled” (2011), mixed media on canvas. “Untitled” (2011), mixed media on canvas.]
Representing a breakthrough in his “fabulist” oeuvre, a new cycle of Tyson Reeder’s paintings are up at Daniel Reich Gallery through July 15, 2011. His first solo exhibition in New York since 2006, Reeder’s confident work is fresh while—at the same time—connecting with painting’s history and iconography. So unique that they call to mind folk and outsider art, his paintings reflect the brain’s hovering fluidity.
While painting this body of work, Reeder looked at paintings by Dada- and Surrealist-associated Francis Picabia (1879–1953) in which heads superimpose with figures in delimited psychological landscapes. Known for his “portraits mécaniques”—and associated with figures from Marcel Duchamp to Gertrude Stein—the provocative Picabia is credited with introducing Modern art to the United States. Also influential to Reeder—in obvious ways—are the paintings of Jean Fautrier (1898-1964), whose singular style distanced his work from Surrealism, late Cubism, and hard-edged Abstraction. Reeder’s mixed media on a birch panel recalls Fautrier’s post-war painted panels called “Otages” (or “Hostages”). Additionally of influence to Reeder are the predominately abstract, small-scale mixed media works done by Fautrier in late career.
Additionally, Reeder admires Paul Klee (1879–1940) for the musicality and childlike perspective of his work—manifested by a somewhat “cartoonish” imagery. Klee—associated with Wasily Kandinsky and Franz Marc in “Der Blaue Reiter” (“The Blue Rider”) and with Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, and Alexei Jawlensky in “Die Blaue Vier” (“The Blue Four”)—was noted for his work’s Expressionism, transcendence, color vocabulary, and connection to metaphysical thought. Most admirably, 17 of Klee’s works were included in the notorious 1937 Nazi-organized exhibition of “Entartete Kunst” (“Degenerate Art“) and 102 of his works in public collections were removed by that regime.
At play in Reeder’s new cycle is an unleashed quality of the brush—seeming to free his brushstrokes from a precalculated banality. The resultant lively movement enumerates the artist’s fantastic—if contrived—world. Humor is palpable here, while one finds haunting beauty in Reeder’s choice of color and execution. One colorful portrait in this show contains a cartoon’s aura in a consciously sedate palette of aqua, yellow, pink, and white. Another of the included works—while pleasing—is obscured behind a mask and impulsive strokes of white paint. Its ocular impudence is rendered is such detail as to possess the gravity and Surrealism of one of the works of Marc Chagall (1887–1985). Reeder invokes an exotic precinct in which past and future coalesce.
Though embracing the hieroglyphic quality of Aztec and Egyptian works, Reeder’s canvases deftly borrow a muted and extremely individualized palette reminiscent of Brice Marden. In fact, the viewer may find Reeder’s cornucopia of references a bit dizzying. One may even discern a bit of the idiosyncratic, suggestive, and “Eastern influenced” canon of Henri Michaux (1899–1984) under the surface of a lone blue tree. In one work with a relic quality, musicians are illuminated by a golden sun. In another, light reflects meditatively on water. All burst with feelings and variations of mood.
Reeder’s work has shown in a number of venues such as: Jack Hanley Gallery (Los Angeles), Greener Pastures (Toronto), Black Dragon Society (Los Angeles), Angstrom Gallery (Los Angeles), Nicolai Wallner (Copenhagen), Hiromi Yoshi (Japan), Cheim and Read, the Swiss Institute, Shane Campbell Gallery, and Museum 52.
Through July 15, 2011
537 West 23rd Street, NYC 10011