Rehs Contemporary, in partnership with Artefex, is pleased to announce their upcoming exhibit, Beneath the Surface. Opening on Friday, March 25th, 2022, Beneath the Surface features 17 premier contemporary artists… and while most art exhibits are solely focused on the artwork aesthetics, Beneath the Surface highlights the fact that artworks are more than just a layer of paint.
The oldest known paintings are tens of thousands of years old, and since then, millions of artworks have been created. But how many of those pieces still exist? Furthermore, how many of those exist in their original form? From the very moment an artwork is completed, it is in a constant battle; a battle with nature, from heat to humidity to sunlight, and a battle with humanity, from accidents to vandalism.
The folks at Rehs Contemporary are all too familiar with the wide array of issues that may arise over the life of a work of art. While Rehs Contemporary offers works by artists who are still creating new pieces, their parent company Rehs Galleries continues to specialize in historical paintings. As such, one thing that is of paramount concern at Rehs Contemporary is ensuring their artists are creating works that will stand the test of time.
Artefex, an innovative art materials producer, seeks to address many of these concerns before the artwork is even created. Artefex specializes in creating artists’ panels made from Aluminum Composite Material, or ACM. This modern support medium is resistant to warping, cracking, tearing, and changes to relative humidity and temperature, which are the major factors that impact preservation.
For Beneath the Surface, each artist completed a new work just like they normally would, but on an Artefex panel. Frankly, you would never know anything is different… but that is the point. James Neil Hollingsworth’s Drill is as precise as the myriad of household appliances he’s recreated in years past. The subject is starkly laid on a seemingly barren concrete surface, with each blemish and bit of rust meticulously rendered; the signs of aging are almost ironic given what it’s painted on.
Among the other participating artists are Hiroshi Furuyoshi and Julie Bell, along with a dozen others. Furuyoshi masterfully crafts miniature portraits with painstaking detail. His contribution to Beneath the Surface is Maya, which measures just 5 inches by 7 inches. Set within an ornate tabernacle frame, the tiny work commands attention regardless of what hangs beside it. Bell, known for her wildlife and fantasy paintings, created her newest work Dream Traveler: Tiger, a Bengal tiger emerges from an abstract jungle, locking eyes with the viewer. There is this unnerving sense of uncertainty, since we cannot ascertain if the tiger is eyeing its next meal or simply crossing paths with a respected beast. Nevertheless, the gestural environment continues to bring our attention back to the subject, forcing us to marvel at the tiger’s natural and terrifying beauty.
Ultimately, an art exhibit should allow patrons to simply appreciate the art, contemplate the meaning, and admire what is before their eyes. Yet sometimes it is necessary to go a bit deeper; to not only understand what you are looking at but understand what sits Beneath the Surface.