Tony de las Reyes first re-imagined Herman Melville’s Moby Dick in 2006, with an exhibition at Carl Berg that drew the attention of national critics. Ahab’s America, the continuation of de las Reyes preoccupation with Melville’s classic novel, is now on view at Carl Berg Gallery.
De las Reyes uses red bister to make lush stains on paper. At first glance, these stains seem unassuming. But a closer examination reveals the intricate marine scenes that play out within the jurisdiction of the stains: rollicking waves or the confident mast of a ship. In Ahab’s America, de las Reyes has also included a bronze sculpture of a skull, an elongated resin spout, and text paintings that quote passages from Moby Dick. The exhibition is a well-crafted, visually alluring exploration of American identity.
De las Reyes received his BFA from California State University and his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. He has had solo exhibitions at Bentley Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, Howard House in Seattle, and Artplace in Los Angeles. His work has been featured in Art in America and Modern Painters. Ahab’s America runs through April 12, 2008.