Or the Whale

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Or the Whale

6018 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
September 9th, 2006 - October 14th, 2006
Opening: September 9th, 2006 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Tues-Sat 11am-6pm
chinoiserie, monochromatic, stainless, steel, sculpture

Tony de los Reyes’ new body of work based on Herman Melville’s literary classic Moby Dick. De los Reyes has created new bister on paper works, stainless steel sculptures and exquisite monochromatic paintings in this exciting follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2005 exhibition.

This body of work by Tony de los Reyes is derived from Melville’s Moby-Dick or, The Whale. Moby-Dick is unique in that it is a genre-tale without a center, a gripping narrative that runs aground due to its own lack of focus. While its main story is thoroughly Romantic, it goes beyond the strategy of the subjective sublime by allowing for the possibility of universality and transcendence through multiple perspectives. De los Reyes conveys this complexity into a series of feedback relationships using different images and materials that resonate with each other. Individual characters such as Ahab, Ishmael, and especially the whale are not personified: that is left to viewers who find themselves part of the plot, in a transitional space between literature and art.

Specific images and objects such as the sea, ships and harpoons made in a minimal palette of red, white and silver become isolated and portentous omens. And the materials used, dense ink (bister) on paper, cast stainless steel and reflective white paint, create an overall alchemical effect. The deep red used in the works on paper relate to blood and the saturation of surface, while the reflective quality of stainless steel does the opposite, making light the property that almost obliterates the imagery of the sculptures. The purity of whiteness, in both paint and paper, transfix the viewer with its protean absence, creating an arena where all things are possible, including annihilation.

Known previously for his chinoiserie “porcelain” paintings, de los Reyes continues his interest in mining past aesthetic styles to new effect. His new works focus on more recent abstraction, particularly Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, parenthetical styles of rugged individualism and “pure” materiality. The combination of these styles, with the subject matter of Moby Dick, create new possibilities of narrative.

Tony de los Reyes’ work has recently appeared in Art in America, The Los Angeles Times, Tema Celeste and Art on Paper. He has had solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York and Seattle. Group exhibitions have included such institutions as White Columns, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and the Luckman Fine Arts Gallery at CalState LA. He spent last summer at the Kaus Australis residency in Rotterdam, The Netherlands where he absorbed Moby Dick.