Looking around the Santa Fe art circuit, you’ll find a lot of sincere artwork. After a few visits to these shows, a visitor gets the picture: there’s a haunting beauty to the expansive New Mexico vistas and a melancholic reverence for still-standing pueblos and their less fortunate sisters.
But not all of American life, or even life in the Southwest, has to be sundrenched or stoic. It takes a brave artist to wink or smile in his work.
Randall Reid is such an artist. Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas—a land more south than west, and more new than Mexican—Reid brings a bit of southern charm to his work: salvaging used and discarded materials, he creates focused and concentrated icons of unblinking Americana.
The confining steel frames that cut off works like “Weights and Balances” (pictured) turn the throwback icons into a portraiture that enjoys its own anachronism. “The humor is just part of my everyday life; I look at things in a positive way, and I just see the humor in everyday situations,” Reid tells SFR.
“I like to keep up the wittiness, the alertness of society, in my work, hiding things between the lines,” he continues.
Anyone standing in front of one of Reid’s pieces quickly sees what he’s talking about. Reid explains that “the work is about connecting to the past, remembering the past and the generations that have come before,” and for an artist of Reid’s caliber, the past is nothing to discount.
Born in 1956, Reid has shown his art in over 300 exhibits in a long list of museums, including the Grace Museum, the McNay Art Museum, the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts Austin.
Continuing his style of infusing old materials with new life, Reid employs items like vintage lettering, well-planned rust spots and burnished areas as his foundation. Evoking “Rust Belt industrialism and post-painterly abstraction,” the artist manipulates them to form a collage of sorts that elevates form to artistic function.
His upcoming show at Nüart Gallery, opening this Friday, is billed as “a monograph about the artist and his artwork” and coincides with the release of his new book, Randall Reid: Full Circle, which gives name to the show. Along with hors d’oeuvres and live music, the artist will be present at the opening reception.
Bells and whistles aside, according to Reid, it’s up to the viewer to make out exactly what these delights reveal. He adds that his humorous portraits are as reflective as they are indicative.
“I see the pieces as mirrors: I want people to not only think of the structure or integrity of the work, but what it reflects upon society, or how it reflects back to you.”
5-7 pm Friday, May 3. Free.
Nüart Gallery, 670 Canyon Road,