Lisa Cooley is pleased to present Alan Reid’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, With. The exhibition opens on Sunday, October 24 and continues through December 6. A reception for the artist will be held on October 24 from 6 until 8 pm.
Reid will show new works that depict solitary women delicately rendered in wood, Caran d’Ache, tented gesso and acrylic on canvas. His subjects are aimless and alienated women of indeterminate age. They are idealized and elusive, their figures impossibly proportioned, their prominent faces stylized. Reid takes as an investigative launching point a contorted pose derived from Henri Matisse’s Blue Nude, rhythmic and yielding. Despite their great beauty, these elongated women sidestep pliancy through their man-eating expressions that Reid calls “bored and bitchy.”
Each work in With enters the realm of collage and abstraction through a variety of additions – painted and carved wood attachments that allude to modernist styles. These wooden patterns function as clothing, clinging to the bodies of the women and accentuating their angular, mannerist figures. Reid acknowledges the absurdity of a blouse designed around an Eames’ Hang-It-All, as in Sao Paulo Turtleneck, or the wooden leggings made of notched, chewed splinters suggesting women’s stockings in Alpine Djembe. Yet through these recapitulations of Modernism, Reid reaches out to history, collapsing time in the same way he collapses the space of the picture plane. He probes Modernism both by depicting intrinsic Modernist patterns and symbols, and by channeling Modernist projects, such as the assemblage artists’ conflating the distinction between frame and framed, or Brancusis’ equalization of pedestal and work. The work is an enigmatic homage of circular logic, an elegant, categorical subversion.
Reid’s past works operated in more of a narrative framework but the women in With are stripped of context. They fill the picture plane and feel compressed and self-reflexive. These amazons might be cold, their adornments geometric, their existences defined by style, but there is a quiet crisis, a longing embedded under all those hard lines for something human and relatable. These complex, indefinable portraits reach out their arms to implicate the viewer. They are purposefully ambiguous, foils for the viewer’s own ideas about the intersection between art, fashion and beauty, desire and delicious frustration.
Alan Reid lives and works in New York. He holds a MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. His work was recently exhibited in No Barrier Fun, at the gallery. He was also included in a group show titled Moonlighting, curated by Baseera Khan at Hosfelt Gallery, New York. For the May ‘10 edition of The Highlights, Reid contributed a written and illustrate piece, ‘Despondent Babysitter’.