Canada is pleased to present Gorp, Tyson Reeder’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. This new series of paintings find the artist in a winsome mood. The paintings depict landscapes and imaginary urban scenes. Custom vans, cruiser bikes and choppers are the preferred mode of transport to traverse the weave of highways, overpasses and nature trails that intersect the paintings. Reeder frequently opts for muted lighting, the feel of pre-dawn or early evening permeate his paintings, triggering memories of vacations and wanderlust. Reeder’s paintings allude to urban spaces that have a forgotten or emptied out feeling, with nature nonchalantly creeping into the margins. Abandoned department stores and parks expose a daydreamer mid-dream.
The paintings are made with a light touch. Errant pencil lines form loose boundaries for thinned out flows of acrylic paint that seem soaked into the canvas or possibly emerging from within somehow. There is no bravura brushwork. The residue of the effort of painting is as light as the images and themes. From time to time, Reeder will press down on a particular detail paying close attention to something weird, like an embroidered dragon on a silk jacket or the veins on a leaf. The focus heightens oddness, like a pulled-out thread in the fabric of his painted reality. Reeder has played in a minor key before, but these works seem to expand the language into new territory: behind the tentative searching quality there is an embrace of a more outré version of his visual language.
The missing link, the ghost in the machine, is the painter himself. The romantic ideal of the artist beholding nature, becoming transfixed and overwhelmed by what is beheld receives a makeover in Gorp. The sense that Reeder feels any particular way towards the subject matter is suspect in these paintings, as if the painter went outside and felt, well, the same. In fact, Reeder demurs when confronted with the possibility of allegorical meanings in his work and refers, instead, to the shape making possibilities a leaf or an escalator offer his compositions. But we are free to interpret the paintings and, given our times, they inspire reveries on post-apocalyptic society or, less operatically, some particular long weekend when everyone went away. The sensation of missing out on the main event permeates the works, and the sense of loss is replaced with the sensation of finding something private and the bewildered joy of experiencing strangeness in the everyday.