Dean Reynolds paintings are a candy coloured riff on surrealism, his pictures taking us back to the 1920’s and reinvigorating the form, a 21st journey through the unconscious mind, a fantasy adventure that wends it way through classic children’s literature such as Alice and Wonderland and films like the Wizard of Oz.
This love of modernist absurdity and fascination with technology, dreams and the unconscious all come to bear in his bizarre paintings, his portraits of women in mythological landscapes veering from comic art to illustration, science fiction to Daliesque worlds, pictures that are at once familiar yet confound our rational mind.
Reynolds began life as an actor on stage and screen and it’s borne out in his aesthetic, his style very much rooted in American pop culture rather than the European tradition that his pictures initially suggest. It’s comics, fantasy, TV and film that permeate his art, his use of bright vibrant colours and subversive anthropomorphic characters lulling us into a world we believe to be safe and warm before we are faced with his truth. His darker, more nightmarish reality.
This juxtaposition of pop culture and dark surrealist symbolism gives Reynolds paintings a deeper dimension, his metaphors morphing into a worm hole, a rabbit hole even, through which we travel believing all is good, rational, normal before its too late. And like the rabbit we are left chasing after meaning. Lost in a world of his own making. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
What I do is similar to the archetype of the Magician. I conjure these images which come to me like a day dream or a vision. They arrive as a seed which I then nurture and grow. The work is about the act of painting a window to a world and of fantasy, the surreal and inner experiences. The images appear to me and taunt me to re-create them into a drawing or a painting and then I work to make them into reality. There are influences that find their way into my art the works of my heroes’; Carl Jung, Dali, Peter Paul Rubens and Sci-fi and Fantasy Illustrators. My life experiences are portrayed and resolved through the artwork. The paintings take me somewhere: It’s a journey. The mystery of inner experience revealing itself along the way.
You can currently see Reynolds new paintings at the Parlour Gallery, 717 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, New Jersey until 7th June, 2015.
Thanks to Hi-Fructose for the tip off.