Talley Dunn Gallery
May 22 – July 10, 2021
Solastalgia is an exhibition of Sam Reveles’ most recent body of work—intricate paintings and drawings that continue the artist’s investigation into how we view and conceive of nature. Capturing the affective experience of human encounters with inconceivably micro and macro phenomena, traversing atomic structures to expanding galaxies, Reveles’ paintings optically communicate the metaphysical. These subtle revelations include what the artist describes as the “primal relationship between ourselves and what is ‘out there’ in our universe,” including the ineffable psychic and existential implications of these meditations.
This exhibition showcases a pivotal shift in the artist’s practice towards an inquiry of the space between the artist’s signature dynamic layers of networked lines. Reveles states, “I’m delving into the void between the lines.” Considering the negative space of his compositions, Reveles is working from “nothingness,” evoking the artist’s interest in space, and that which is unobservable but nonetheless affects all that surrounds it. Resulting in linework that creates a grid-like structure, the dynamic trails of lines are stretched and distorted by their organic referents taken from the artist’s own body. Reveles maps out the blank space in his compositions with measuring devices that he shapes from wood using his bodily contours. Harkening back to but speaking against the strictly regimented perspectival systems of Renaissance traditions, Reveles’ methods reflect how humans actually perceive space in a universe where gravity, light, and mass interact organically, encountering even more mystifying substances of dark matter and black holes in the expanse of galaxies.
The artist’s deep queries on our relationship with nature and the universe do not go without political implications. The exhibition takes its title from the recently coined term “solastalgia,” which describes a form of psychic or existential distress caused by climate and environmental change. Living in the time of the Anthropocene, when human impact on our planet principally affects the Earth’s ecosystem, Reveles responds in his compositions that take its colors from the observable landscape—the atmosphere, land, vegetation, water. As the threat of climate change looms, Reveles’ art considers the tension of an image on the verge of becoming, or being subsumed into nothingness; vibrating with a consciousness that affects all living things on our planet.