Sam Reveles: New Paintings
On View December 11, 2004 - February 05, 2005
There is an urgency that pervades the new paintings of Sam Reveles. The gestural accumulations, that are characteristic of the work, hold both a latent violence and tranquility embedded as spatial density and a saturation of pigment. There is a tendency to read the images as attempts to describe action that escapes portrayal due to exaggerated speed or abruptness, such as frames from a graphic novel that might convey an explosion or a brawl. These emotive clusters are formed from the aftermath of continuous and cycled markings, suggestive of the reciprocated erotic motive or a determined means of formal transformation. Here, there is an understanding of time, place, and the figure in phenomenological terms. Reveles lives and works in El Paso, Texas and describes the environment as bringing about a distinct awareness of one’s relationship with the landscape and nature. What might appear to be an engrossed negation of the fragile underpainting in these works conveys a sense of visual memory and depth from beneath a scattered and frenetic covering. This groundwork, visible only in the periphery of the canvases, is a horizontal derivation of landscape that offers a point of reference to the act and to the object being engaged. The paintings are still within a corporeal scale and hold a defined power of human presence because of it. Where in the past there was a specific reference to historical imagery, though usually altered to a point beyond recognition, the works are now more self sufficient, and only from the titles, such as “Indian Roman” or “Horizon City”, is there any reference to place though perhaps only in nuances that rest beyond the representational or symbolic. The palette in this new body of work has however found an influence from a distinct tradition of symbolism, the Tibetan Thangka painting, which incorporate a severe doctrine of color-coded language; each color holding a distinct meaning as visual/spiritual syntax. This literal notion of color, as a vehicle of power, is something that Reveles has made central to his practice.