January 27, 2003

Implied Narratives
by Eve Wood

Lucas Reiner, "The Records of A Weather-Exposed Skeleton,"
Jan 11-Feb. 8, 2003, at Roberts & Tilton Gallery, 6150 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, Ca. 90048.

Lucas Reiner has composed a series of intimate, loosely rendered paintings of trees, each of which stands as a character or personae in Reiner's private narrative.

Reiner's oil and wax paintings on canvas are small (14 x 20 in.), although they seem somehow majestic and tall. Perhaps this is because these dense little paintings are more than just quaint depictions of trees, but encapsulate both their stature and movement as well as a kind of ineffable presence. With titles like Happy One and Come Back, and The Two Made One, Reiner's paintings allude to romantic notions of beauty.

Reiner's palette features dark greens and deep reds, and each painting "assumes its own shape over time, through the manipulation of color and form, light and pictorial space." These paintings retain their history; the decisions to modify and erase, to reapply color or change forms altogether become traces, or "leavings" that are evident in the final finished pieces.

A graduate of the Parson's School of Design in Paris, Reiner approaches trees not as traditional landscapes, but as portraits, and has imbued them with specific traits and attributes to delineate character. One tree is squat and bushy while another leans despairingly away from its own shadow. All beg the obvious question: which tree would you choose for your own? Or better yet, which tree would choose you?

EVE WOOD is an artist and writer who lives in Los Angeles. Her new book of poetry, Love's Funeral, is published by Cherry Grove Collections.