James Rieck "Enter the Dragon"

Lyons Wier Gallery

poster for James Rieck "Enter the Dragon"

This event has ended.

It seems today that no respectable wardrobe is complete without at least one good ironic T-shirt. This fashionable form of expression spans every possible posture, whether it is the iconic portrait of Che Guevara worn by a stockbroker, or the "Just Say No to Drugs" slogan infamously touted across Lindsey Lohan's chest, the ironic T-shirt has become an omnipresent part of life.

Inspired by this ubiquitous form of communication and self-expression, artist James Rieck uses the T-shirt as a blank slate upon which he communicates the narrative in his work. Exclusively appropriating action film stills from Bruce Lee movies, including the use of Lee's most famous film as the title of his show, Rieck digitally composes Lee's classic martial art scenes onto his subjects T-shirts. Each larger than life painting hosts an individual or group of tantalizing young women, whose body language conveys the choreographed kung-fu scene adorning their snug fitting shirts.

Simultaneously obvious and obscure, the paintings are visual double entendres juxtaposing the graphics on the T-shirt with the posture of the model. Rieck formats his subjects' chests like a movie screen upon which the narrative plays out. He creates a dialogue with the viewer using humor to press many societal 'hot buttons'. Whether referencing the gratuitous commercial advertisements of American Apparel or Abercrombie & Fitch, or addressing the prolific amount of pornography that assaults us each day, Rieck manipulates the obvious sexual content in the work to address a broader debate over relationships, gender, promiscuity, and violence, finding a delicate balance between what is present, perceived, and provocative. The paintings' titles such as "Gang Bang", "Cockblock", "Low Blow" also emphasizes the duality between fighting and pleasure.

Technically, Rieck continues to develop his extraordinary deftness of hand. With an almost airbrush like quality, each photo-realistic painting is rendered using only three colors: Napthol Red, Sap Green and White. Rieck's technical prowess is matched by his masterful sense of composition and cropping. He boils his subject matter down to its bare essence, allowing the exaggerated scale and exact cropping the ability to amplify the contextual underpinning of the work.



from February 03, 2011 to February 26, 2011

Opening Reception on 2011-02-03 from 18:00 to 20:00


James Rieck

  • Facebook


    All content on this site is © their respective owner(s).
    New York Art Beat (2008) - About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Use