The Primitive Electric, Faris McReynolds’s fourth exhibition at Roberts & Tilton in Los Angeles, CA, spurs a compelling conversation between divergent painting styles and assorted perspectives. While he explores social commentaries, McReynolds’s paint application varies in thickness and sensitivity. Overall, the exhibit attests to the difficulty involved in reconciling society’s ever expanding attitudes and perspectives on popular culture.
In paintings like Speedway, McReynolds uses broad, gestural strokes to describe figures in various throws of action. He works with a sense of immediacy; his style reminiscent of artists Willem De Kooning and Richard Diebenkorn of the Abstract Expressionist and Bay Area Figurative movements. Colors resonate, contrasting both in tonality and hue, aiding the flagrant figures’ substantial mass. In these paintings, McReynolds composes panoptic scenes–particularly crude stills from popular culture. In The Leaving Party, a crowd is crammed onto the platform of a military type vehicle that flees a chaotic, burning backdrop. One of the main subjects joyously waives a pink and purple striped necktie like a flag while another is victoriously thrusting up a human head.
Conversely, McReynolds’s mixed media pieces, such as It’s No Journey and A World of Reflections are more subtle and softened, lending to a contemplative mood. The subjects of these cinematic portraits portray emotions that range from disappointment and depression to sheer psychosis. One can imagine the characters are undergoing a complex set of reactions, perhaps shocked and dismayed by the vulgarities represented in his more expressionistic works. In other portraits, such as Water Mirror, McReynolds slices up facial features, aggressively distorting the face with impasto, palette knife marks. Viewers could deduct that the multiple portions of flesh, eyes, nose, and mouth are a metaphor for the complexities involved in seeing various viewpoints at once.
McReynolds was born in Dallas, Texas in 1977 and received his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 2000. He now lives in Los Angeles, showing his work both nationally and internationally at Goff & Rosenthal in Berlin, Gallery Min Min in Tokyo, and the Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp. The Primitive Electric is on display at Roberts & Tilton until November 14th, 2009.