Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce Slack Tide, an exhibition of new paintings by Ben Reeves. The exhibition will open on November 5th and run until November 26th. This is Reeves’ second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Having resided in British Columbia for most of his life, Ben Reeves is acutely aware of the natural world and our shifting relationship with it. For this exhibition, Reeves reflects on "back-to-the-land" activities and wildlife encounters that are at once utopian and ominous. Practices of casting a fishing net, digging for clams and foraging for mushrooms are portrayed in an ethereal light, opening passageways for fantastical elements including a forest floor composed of colourful sea stars. Reeves' signature impasto and collaged surfaces are also at play, echoing the physical, sensory and emotional experience of the places he depicts in his paintings.
While the forest scenes recall Reeves’ childhood memories of growing up in Lynn Valley, the fisher paintings reflect on his experiences in Newfoundland. When locals would toss their nets into the ocean to catch small fish, Reeves was particularly drawn to the formlessness of the nets while in midair. He sees the act as a metaphor for painting, a process that is hard to pin down and difficult to describe. Reeves often avoids the use of horizon lines which when absent, flatten the perspective and emphasize the mysterious qualities of water - its vastness and its depth.
Places are experienced physically, sensorily and emotionally, but also culturally. Painting has these similar dimensions and, for both, they do not all perfectly align. So there is always work to be done and many mysteries to consider.
The paintings in “Slack Tide” explore pasts, presents and futures of so-called natural places that skirt urban areas. There is a sense that these spaces have multiple histories and meanings. As a result, we have multiple identities within them.
– Ben Reeves