Tony de los Reyes
A consistent theme throughout my career has been new interpretations of historical, political and literary works revitalized through unique materials and techniques. “History painting” may seem anachronistic to contemporary art, but I use the genre to describe an entire range of contemporary dialogues, especially how images are contained by the singular mind and society as a whole.
My most recent concern has been a five-year fascination with the classic American novel Moby-Dick. This body of work considers Melville’s text as a psychic diagram of our enduring national obsessions. I feel that behind the novel are projected fantasies that are both mythic and compulsive. I am fascinated by the possibility that culture and politics, rather than being conscious expressions of society, are the residue of repressed, collective fantasies. The “drive” of labor, success at any cost, and an individual, rather than collective, emancipation toward “freedom” are at the center of the American myth. These interpretations have driven me to choose my materials and techniques carefully, and work with those that have mercurial properties of changing densities and textures. They in turn allow the images I use to evolve in meaning, and serve multiple interpretations of the greater content.
Select Solo Exhibitions from 2008-2011
The Dart, Heather James Fine Art, Palm Desert, Calif.
Chasing Moby-Dick: Selected Works by Tony de los Reyes, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, Calif.
The Prophet, Howard House, Seattle
Ahab’s America, Carl Berg Gallery, Los Angeles
Select Group Exhibitions from 2008-2011
Goldmine, University Art Museum, Cal State Long Beach, Calif.
Sea Change, curated by Michael Duncan, RHC Art Gallery, Rio Hondo College, Whittier, Calif.
Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, N.C.
In-between Air, Land and Sea, Long Beach City College Art Gallery, Long Beach, Calif.
Select Community-Based Artwork
Atelier at SBMA, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Fellowships and Awards
C.O.L.A., City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship Award, Los Angeles
San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco