Jack Reilly is known for his abstract paintings on geometric shaped-canvas structures. As one of the original artists of the Abstract Illusionism movement of the late 1970s, Reilly’s early work incorporated a minimalist approach to abstract painting with visual elements that appeared to extend beyond the two-dimensional picture plane and into the viewers space. Having worked with shaped canvas structures for the past three decades, Reilly has maintained an affinity for simplicity in painting, albeit shrouded in complex visual systems and laborious technique.
Reilly’s geometric shaped canvases combine through attention to composition and surface detail, which is based around mathematical systems and perspective. Each painting is made up of thousands of individual brushstrokes, painted in acrylic polymers and metallic pigments on a shaped canvas structure. Color compositions combine theoretical systems and elements of serendipity, which are arranged in linear formats that interact with the shape of the canvas. Reilly’s signature brushwork has been compared to the complexity of Byzantine mosaics and the luminosity of Gothic stained glass.
Aside from whatever aesthetic appeal Reilly’s paintings offer, these works reappraise and comment on evolving issues in abstract painting that originated in twentieth century art and continue into today's contemporary genres. Ultimately, Reilly’s works are poetic objects of contemplation that straddle the line between painting and sculpture, while drawing upon the dynamic power of line, shape, color and structure.
Jack Reilly received his MFA from Florida State University in 1978. Shortly thereafter he moved to Los Angles and debuted his abstract paintings in a one-person exhibition at the Molly Barnes L.A. Gallery. By 1980 his work was represented in numerous galleries throughout the United States including Arron Berman Gallery, New York; Foster Goldstrom Fine Arts, San Francisco; Molly Barnes, Los Angeles; and Marilyn Butler Gallery, Scottsdale, among others. Articles and reviews on Reilly's work are published in periodicals such as Arts Magazine, Artweek, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, New York Artworld, and books including Inside the L.A. Artist, and American Art Now. Reilly is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and numerous awards. His work is widely exhibited in galleries and museums and is included in major public and private collections internationally, including the Steve Martin Collection and the Fredrick Weisman Foundation. He has executed major public site-specific art commissions for the County of San Diego, and American Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport. In addition to his longstanding career as an artist, Reilly is currently Art Department Chair and Professor of Art at California State University Channel Islands.
"The minimalist tag is a bad fit, or at lease a loose one... it would be more accurately defined as maximal and labor intensive... ascetic action painting." Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara News Press.