October 22, 2008

Ben Reeves: Super-impasto in Vancouver

In the Vancouver Sun Lloyd Dykk reports that Ben Reeves's paintings are about, well, painting about painting. "Unlike most self-referent practice, it's not off-puttingly self-conscious or clever, it's as virtuosic as it is witty. You haven't seen anything like it before. In every one of the 13 pieces, some of them quite large, your view of the subject is obscured by what looks like a heavy blizzard of snow. Flakes -- they can grow to more like blobs -- obscure the details behind them. Some of them are huge and look more like cream pies, big fat globs of paint -- this is super-impasto -- and are surely a record in the density of paint as applied to a canvas. There's something Brechtian about this deliberate game of obfuscation, a call to attention about the falsity of a technique. It's related to the distancing effect that Bertolt Brecht used to draw us closer to truth by showing us the artifice that he could employ in erecting a facade against it, by giving the game away early. Paradoxically it makes the truth more real.

"Reeves's approach, ironically, is to get to an almost sub-atomic level in his argument about what is real and what is not, which is part of the pleasure of this show. There were times when I almost laughed out loud at the hugeness of those globs of paint. Once, I touched one of them, though I shouldn't have. It was soft and gave slightly, then poofed back. It hadn't dried yet and God knows when it would." Read more.

"Ben Reeves: Elements," Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Through Nov. 15.

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