February 29, 2012

Reka "Primary Suspects" exhibition at Backwoods Gallery

Primary Suspects

Opening Night 6-9pm March 2nd 2012

When a suit goes to work, they take their briefcase. When I go to work, I take my cans. Primary Suspects is a reflective exploration into the lifestyle of street vandals and the effect that it takes on us, both mentally and physically. From brushes with the law, confrontations with other graffiti writers, climbing onto rooftops and exploring the underground, the streets have become our desks.

We all have the same motivation: getting up, even if it means getting literally caught red-handed. There is a never-ending cycle of personalities and personas within this world, all with hidden identities only expressed on walls. Urban architecture is a game for us: we just want to write our name on your property. Our tools may be different to other professions, but we all strive for the same thing: recognition. It consumes us.

Primary Suspects expresses this contentious career choice in a body of work made up of canvases, found objects and video installation. The moment-to-moment nature of my profession is reflected in the loose, dynamic brushstrokes that dominate the portraits of myself and my colleagues in the act. Many of them are speckled with hundreds of thousands of primary coloured dots. In fact, everything in my life is. I am constantly reminded of what I do and the life that I chose. And I am proud of that decision.

While I'm out walking the train tracks or painting myself, I often come across rusted, discarded spray cans.

Over the years I have amassed quite a collection and have decided to bring them full circle and paint portraits on them of the graffiti artists who may have once used them. In addition to this, I have contrasted the mundane life of a 9-5 office worker with the stimulating life of a vandal through a short looping film of myself dressed in a suit, getting sprayed in the face with four fire hydrants filled with primary coloured paint. That represents my job, and I dedicate myself to it just as any other person would. When my life is striped back to its bare elements, it becomes a mixture of red, yellow, green and blues. That's what I am made up of. I am a primary suspect.

-James Reka

REKA opening times
Public opening Friday 2 March
Running - 2nd - 18th March.

FB Event

Backwoods Gallery
25 Easey Street Collingwood
Melbourne, Australia
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