Maria Reyes: An Icon of Contemporary Mexican Art's First One Person Exhibition in the US

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Mexican artist, Maria Reyes will be exhibiting her first one person show in the United States at the John Natsoulas Gallery during the Art of Painting in 21st Century Conference from February 24th, 2010 to March 20th, 2010.

Maria Reyes could be considered one of the most exceptionally technical and philosophical artists of the contemporary art world. She is a fiery, outspoken female and her sensual work is often confrontational. Reyes’ previous works are not painterly at all, and yet her work is so well made that you can’t tell whether it’s real or not. The John Natsoulas Gallery welcomes her groundbreaking exhibition for the Art of Painting in the 21st Century Conference from February 24th, 2010 to March 20th, 2010. Reyes is a Mexico City resident who attended UC Davis on a student exchange scholarship in 1986. During this time she worked with artists Robert Arneson and David Hollowell and exhibited at the John Natsoulas Gallery. Reyes has since lived and worked in her hometown, while still keeping in contact with local artists and entrepreneurs. For her newest endeavor she wished to work with those who helped her when she was first starting out in the art world, stating “[I] have continued my correspondence with Mr. Natsoulas over the years. I am very honored to have this opportunity to once again be asked to participate in an exhibition”.

Reyes’ recent paintings go beyond the concept of illusion and are created in such a way as to transform the viewer’s previous ideas about painting. The fields on which these pieces can be measured against are numerous, looking past the preconceived notions of the art of painting and moving into the psychological aspects of insight. The perception threshold is a term that psychologists use in order to determine how much stimulus, or information, a person needs in order to be aware of a particular sensation. Information is constantly filtering through the brain and preconceptions based on previous knowledge of a subject can affect the way a person views new ideas. When viewing Reyes’ pieces one must be aware of their perception threshold and be prepared to have it altered due to these new images. These images are not sexual or overtly violent, as those have become the “norm” in shock value, rather the subtlety with which these preconceptions are challenged is the most shocking idea of all.

These paintings have been part of a study Reyes has been doing for many years. She has been delving into the idea of the “Look of Painting”—what it means for someone to look at a piece of work and decide whether it is good or bad. In addition, she is considering the question: “what would it look like if I made a painting that when someone looked at it they did not automatically register that it was a painting?”. These paintings are created in such a way that viewer would not even register what they were seeing if they weren’t presented in the context of an exhibition. Reyes wishes to challenge the preconceptions of the idea of painting in the way she approaches her subject, creating the extraordinary out of the ordinary. After studying Reyes’ pieces the viewer will reconsider his or her notions of what the art of painting actually means.

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Alexess Van Dyke

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