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Two Finger
James Reyes
April 29, 2022 - May 22, 2022

311 E 3rd Street 

When James Reyes enters his studio, he rarely knows what a work will look like when it's complete. After the canvas is primed, Reyes paints amorphously, creating personal Rorschach tests on which to project his thoughts. Through an informed art historical vocabulary, Reyes fuses the fantastical with the biblical by way of colorful scenes reminiscent of both 1960s psychedelia and Medieval manuscripts. With intricately structured, anthropomorphic compositions, Reyes invites viewers to consider the fluidity of form within a Surrealist dreamscape.

Two Finger presents a suite of intimately scaled gestural paintings, made primarily in the artist's Bronx studio over the last three years. The show's title, Two Finger, (though inspired by the artist's relationship to a specific video game) calls the iconic peace sign hand signal to mind. This universally recognized action exists both as a symbol of coexistence and a dismissive, empty gesture; at once engaged and withdrawn. The semiotic duality of the two finger peace sign speaks to the experience of viewing a painting by Reyes. To one person, the dreamscape may appear grotesque and terrifying, while another interprets the scene as an escapist fantasy. Much like the Rorschach test method Reyes roots his process in, the works presented in Two Finger asks the viewer; what do they see and what does it say about themselves?

James Reyes (b. 1991 New York City)

is an American artist who lives and works in New York City. Born to Puerto Rican and Colombian parents and raised in the Bronx, Reyes’s works are directly inspired by his cultural and social environment. His intensely gestural, occasionally chaotic brushstrokes, splashes, drips, sprays, and scrapes conjure figures both fully rendered and surreal, creating a mesmerizing push-and-pull between figuration and abstraction. Reyes received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and has since exhibited at numerous galleries, museums and fairs across the U.S.

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