A poignant and moving collection of paintings by Jennifer Wynne Reeves, currently on view at CB1 Gallery, is an intimate love affair, which does not require homework to enjoy. It must be noted, however, that the experience, with the knowledge of the artist’s recent passing after her battle with brain cancer, is exponentially amplified with the sense of urgency and immediacy. The unstoppable creative energy lingers, filling the space with a quiet echo of undeterred commitment — even in the face of the inevitable.
Collaged with paint, handwritten texts, wires, hairs, and buttons, Reeves’ smaller works read as narrative assemblages or short stories. The poetic lyrics brief and involved set the mood, running the spectrum distance of jovial orgasmic exuberance to frightening imminent exhaustion. In the larger paintings, the stage appears to be set in dark dead-end alleys. The accumulated masses of tactile materials shape the discarded objects or disposed human body parts. Other beautiful debris dot the landscape sparsely. Precariously holding onto the surface, some feel destined for slow decay while others sink into the glossy sea of cement-like paint.
The glacier-pace disintegration of these scenes both starkly and luminously contrast against Reeves’ pleasant, uplifting paintings that hang in the separate room. Most notable among them are the cakes. Painted roughly two decades earlier, the confections are dense with creamy paint and colorful air. They are substantially more put together and grounded in life’s joy; though in hindsight, the muted melancholy is already present. In contextualizing the artist’s works set apart by both time and health, Reeves’ final paintings become the cakes. However deconstructed or splattered, life is a beautiful mess.
Jennifer Wynne Reeves’ A Bolt of Soul: Grooved Foreheads and Dog Teeth at CB1 Gallery is on view until July 18, 2015. It’s a NOT-TO-BE-MISSED.
All images by author for editorial purposes only.