Stair-Gazing: Naomi Reis

April 14 – June 25, 2017

Scene from Cultivated Jungle (view II), 2015
Mixed media on washi paper and Mylar
62 x 45 in.

Having grown up in Japan and the United States, Naomi Reis considers herself a cultural nomad. She has observed that across cultures people relate to places like botanical gardens in very similar ways, finding comfort and artistic inspiration in these universal spaces. Her interest in manmade ecosystems led her to the Tropical Pavilion at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where she took the photographs that inspired Scene from a Cultivated Jungle (view II).  For this piece she transformed the image into a mixed media painting by layering cut pieces of painted washi paper and Mylar–highlighting the interplay between the natural and the artificial. Conceptually playing with interior and exterior spaces, this work resembles a window that looks onto an exterior space, but her source material is from an interior environment. The work’s placement in the stairwell seems especially appropriate given Reis’s interest in the liminal spaces between natural and artificial, interior and exterior, abstract and representational, native and foreign, and original and copy.  Three small works (mixed media on sun-bleached pigment printed cotton) with related imagery hang at the bottom of the stairs.

Naomi Reis was born in Shiga, Japan, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received an MFA from the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in Transcultural Identity at Hamilton College. She is a co-founder of TSA New York, an artist-run gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Reis has had solo exhibitions at Mixed Greens Gallery, the Horticultural Society of New York and TSA and her work has been included in group exhibitions at Susan Inglett Gallery, NYC; Kunsthalle Galapagos, Brooklyn, NY; and the International Print Center of New York. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Fidelity Investments in Boston, the New York Presbyterian Hospital and the James Hotel in New York.