E6 / ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY
1632 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
July 7, 2010 – August 14, 2010 Reception: Wednesday, July 7, 2010, 6 – 9 pm
Robert Berman / E6 Gallery is pleased to present MISSPELLED, an alphabet by Victor Reyes, handmade in California. The ambitious public art installation turned gallery exhibition explores the artists’ unique approach to graffiti, by dissecting individual letters and exploring the anatomy and architecture found in the symbols we use to communicate. Inspired by San Francisco’s streets, surfaces, and overall visual vibrancy, Reyes reinterprets the letters and presents them to us in a brilliant array of color and movement. These alphabets, recontextualized on various abandoned surfaces around the city, are not intended to provide answers, but to raise questions about how we interpret public spaces and the content assumed within.
Over the past 2 years, Reyes has been diligently painting freestanding alphabets within San Francisco on its many vacant surfaces that resulted from the financial crash in 2008. What started as an initial impulse to push color and movement in a city with a long history of outdoor murals and graffiti has morphed into an attempt to inspire personal and public change in reaction to the economic downturn of recent years.
The individual letters painted in multitude have become an indiscernible narrative written in spray paint and acrylic house paints. These letters adorn trucks, fences, walls and rooftops throughout San Francisco. Alphabets have been strung together and carved out of forgotten spaces, exceeding his original intentions, multiplying in numbers.
Reyes’ restlessness in California over the last two years is portrayed in the landscapes and figures formed out of these letters. Often using the juxtaposition of vibrant colors and dirt, his unique hand-painted characters are meant to exist on their own, an unconventional quality unseen with most street writing. Their message is scattered and fleeting, open to interpretation; The letters are ephemeral, constantly weathering, fading over time, and are often facing neighborhood intervention. The placement of letters on the sides of panel trucks that disappear at the change of a stoplight exemplifies the alphabet’s physical mobility, in most cases leaving us with only a photograph as proof of their existence. Since the projects inception in 2008, Reyes has executed over forty site-specific murals around the city, as well as created countless studies and mixed media works for the exhibition.
In addition to the street installation and gallery exhibition MISSPELLED will also take on the form of a 104 page book documenting the story of these alphabets and how they came to be. It will include photographs, studies and reproductions of the murals and works featured in the exhibition. The release of the book will coincide with the opening of the exhibition, and will be available throughout the show.
Reyes has been painting since the early 90s, and has shown extensively around the world, in Bosnia, Germany, Switzerland, Taipei, Japan, and Miami. Recent shows include blue.print.for.space/Primary Flight at Miami Art Basel 2009, Public Provocations at Carhartt Projects in Germany, Will Rise at Robert Berman Gallery (Los Angeles) in 2008, and Letters First, a traveling show in Japan/Korea/Barcelona 2006-2008. Reyes is inspired by his peers, including a community of new California artist’s “The Seventh Letter” who have had integral role in the development and motivation for this body of work.
“The photos and illustrations capture a time in my life when I was able to make this work for a city I love and labor in.” — Victor Reyes, July 2010
E6 1632 market street, san francisco, ca 94102 (p) 415.558.9975