Office Baroque has the pleasure to present the first individual exhibition of Michael Rey at the gallery.
Michael Rey makes monochromatic wall works with panels entirely surfaced in plasticine clay and oil paint. At the most fundamental level, these voluptuous monochromes operate at the shifting intersections of drawing, painting, and sculpture. By applying a uniform color to the surface of each shape, Rey draws attention to the arbitrary contours that circumscribe them and that are the product of an intense involvement with drawing, which he incessantly and obsessively practices. The shapes themselves conjure all manner of cartoony objects: one can think of them as a Guston-ian inventory of the icon-saturated Internet era or as a vernacularization of minimalism that recalls Stuart Davis’ transfiguration of synthetic cubism. Yet, despite the sense of déjà vu that Rey’s forms can provoke, their concrete antecedents remain always unlocatable, hinting that what they strive to embody is something akin to Freud’s “lost object”. Moreover, Rey’s seemingly fleshy objects (the fleshiness achieved not by the “natural” skinning of oil paint but by Rey’s application of a layer of Plasticine underneath the paint) always come with precise holes and apertures cut into them that reveal an empty interiority rather than the fullness (of substance or meaning) that one might want to impute to them.
The hybridity that is characteristic of Rey’s work recurs on multiple levels. Though unapologetically concerned with form, the work eschews any opposition between rigor and theatricality, abstraction and iconicity. Technical precision and demanding craftsmanship are wedded to a profusion of forms that refuse any stable connection to a referent and are matched by titles rife with neologisms compounded from shattered words. Cheerfully accepting the ultimate unfigurability of the part object that activates desire, Rey gives himself over to generating a potentially endless metonymic series of its imaginary configurations.
Michael Rey currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his BFA from the Ringling School of Art and Design (2002) and his MFA from Art Center (2008). Recent exhibitions include Zero, Milan (2015); White Flag Projects, St. Louis (2015); Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles (2015); Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2015) and Lisson Gallery, London (2014).