Marking his first solo presentation in Los Angeles, and third with S16 Gallery overall, this exhibition features 15 new collages and works on paper that reflect the artist’s idiosyncratic predilections and interest in the generative/cannibalistic relationship between consumption and creativity.
The works on view—which celebrate and exploit the irresistible, encoded allure of commercially weaponized nostalgia—expand of the artist’s creative vocabulary beyond the robotic constraints of his original vintage-sticker collages. These new compositions freely appropriate, subvert, dissect and remix commercial artworks culled from vintage stickers and explore the interaction of text and images, incorporating mass-media quotes, phrases from everyday life and the artist’s own words. Like his original collages, Weily’s new compositions are based on his personal sense of what feels authentic, relevant and intuitively satisfying.
“I am often unaware of why I do the things I do. This is true in my artwork, it is true in my personal life, and it is true in my professional life—and I’m good with not knowing. I have had enough success in life to understand the impossibility of comprehending the infinite potential trajectories of a creative enterprise, but all such endeavours (whether they succeed or fail in accomplishing their intended aims) bring new value into the world. That is the elusive and obvious nature of value creation, and it seldom reveals itself in a straight line. My artwork is an extension of this concept. It is completely intuitive; I enjoy watching the unpredictable and nonlinear progress of the creativity I bring to the world.” As always, Sarah Weily, the artist’s wife and an artist in her own right, oversaw the framing and designed presentation of the show. The striking frames she creates add a vibrant dimension to her husband’s work and are inseparable from the art itself. Indeed, the couple views all of Weily’s shows as collaborations reflecting their creative symbiosis. “I am the craziness, the energy and the spark,” says the artist. “Sarah is the polish, the colour and the class. She organizes my insanity and makes everything look beautiful.”
Reed Weily is best known for his “robot” collages, which are obsessively plastered with thousands of vintage stickers. Throughout his compositions, the artist draws on the memories and emotions from his 20-year career in international law and finance. During his unique professional life, Weily has spent extended periods in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Bangkok, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, and his artwork reflects the deep palette of impressions made during his life of travel. A self-taught American artist, he began making artwork in 2018 at the urging of his wife, and an artist herself, and he references her love of colour throughout his vibrant works. Weily has shown internationally and has had solo exhibitions in Denver, Montreal and Los Angeles.