Ben Reeves:
You’re soaking in it

Atelier Gallery, Vancouver
thru Sept

Ben Reeves, Tue des Germes (1999),
oil on panel

British Columbia painter Ben Reeves has become well-established for his work in the tradition of 18th and 19th Century European realists. Like many of his predecessors, Reeves' subject matter is the still-life of common household wares.

His paintings are small - about two feet square - with equally small, life-sized subjects. Precisely posed on flat surfaces, the objects speak volumes about the generic quality of suburban consumer culture. Reeves is particularly indulgent in this selection of ready-to-serve containers of pre-packaged food, some of which are recycled to hold everyday trivia, pens and pencils.

Reeves' work has been representational since his fine art training at University of B.C. The current series of paintings, however, has a new hyper-reality as he records every nuance of highlights, refracted light, reflections, labels and textures. Yet rather than forcing only their surfaces on the viewer, Reeves manages to project a sense of wan and forlorn personalities.

© Mia Johnson