Alan Reid (b. 1976, Texas) is an artist. He lives in Brooklyn and has presented solo exhibitions at Lisa Cooley, New York; Mary Mary, Glassgow; A Palazzo, Brescia, Nicelle Beauchene, NY and Patricia Low, Gstaad. His monograph Warm Equations is published by Edition Patrick Frey. He curated the exhibition Air de Pied-à-terre, at Lisa Cooley, NY. Reid's work has been reviewed by Bomb, Frieze, Vogue, NYTimes, New Yorker, and elsewhere. He both writes and speaks about art, on occasion.

February 17th, 2014

Born in 1976 in Texas, Reid lives and works in New York. Recent exhibitions include ‘Echo Avalanche,’ Patricia Low Contemporary, Gstaad; ‘POEMS,’ Lisa Cooley, New York (both 2013); ‘The Chameleon,’ Gallery A Palazzo, Brescia, Italy (2012) & ‘Boudoir Concrete,’ Mary Mary, Glasgow (2011). Group shows include ‘Air de Pied-a-terre,’ organised by LIsa Cooley & Alan Reid, Lisa Cooley, New York; ‘Today,’ Lisa Cooley, New York (both 2013); ‘Keno Twins,’ curated by Michael Bauer,’ Barriera, Turin; ‘Beholder,’ Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (both 2011). Forthcoming projects include ‘We Play at Paste,’ a group exhibition at Lisa Cooley, New York. Reid will also show a selection of works with Mary Mary alongside Gerda Scheepers at Miart, Milan in March 2014.

For his last exhibition at Mary Mary Gallery, Reid has withdrawn the female protagonist his exhibitions to date have centered around. ‘An Absent Monument’ looks at the absence of Reid’s female character, continuing past themes of camouflage, of social masks and substitutions, of chameleons, absences and of being incognito. Alongside Reid, independent fashion designer & artist Moire Conroy contributes to this exhibition.

The mural, ‘La Notte (1961)’, titled after Michelangelo Antonioni’s film depicting a psychologically alienated bourgeois couple, is designed around a large-scale patterned print. The pattern, columns of giraffe’s spots, is used variously as a tableau, stage set and a screen upon which Reid can add a series of suggestive objects: wooden moustaches, a tea set, croissants, a mask, shells, vases, etc. In addition to the sculptures and having commissioned fashion designer Moire Conroy to design clothing for the ‘absent character’ within the exhibition, several works have articles of clothing strewn on them, as if we have become privy to the discarding of her clothes.

Reid’s interest in the idea of private versus public selves, and the social masks we wear is here evidenced in the giraffe pattern, a disguise extended to an absurd end, exposing giraffes as an unfortunate candidate for camouflage – big ridiculous animals trying to blend in with their surroundings. In ‘La Notte (1961)’, giraffe camouflage is used simultaneously to perform the role of room, of setting, and to act as character. The column, a form evoking architecture, text (a magazine column), and biology (giraffe’s neck) in this setting forms an indeterminate foundation upon which the artist can layer meanings.

Alongside ‘La Notte (1961)’, Reid presents new paintings taking the theme of an absent subject as a conceptual starting point. The paintings, employing silhouettes of Henry Moore sculptures, are all non-functional clocks – the face of a stopped clock, a stand-in for an absent face.

The paintings here pursue a line of thinking incorporating modernist art history, painting’s echo in culture, modes of desire and the linguistic instability of painting. Reid’s personal and analytic iconography commandeers art-historical motifs, subverting and employing them in varying degrees. His references are absurd, but also speak to aspects of polite society, hospitality, and the way humans inevitably read and misunderstand each other. The work delves into apparent contradictions, seeking to continuously add elements, whether sculptural or functional, figural or abstract, avoiding categorization, with each addition to the work seeking to subvert easy explanation.