Fernando Reyes has evolved from a San Francisco banker to a full-time artist, from a self-taught artist to a formally trained one, and from a purely representational artist to one whose broad portfolio now includes abstract art.
Fernando Reyes An Artist’s Evolution
January 12 – March 15 2018.
Born in 1954 and raised in Fresno, California, Reyes developed a love for art at a young age.
During the summers he would pick grapes with his family. He would use the paper that the grapes were laid out on for raisins to draw on, as his family could not afford to buy art supplies. As a teen he enjoyed creating fanciful drawings of his sisters, cultural icons and imaginary female fashion models. At age 22 he moved to San Francisco, working as a banker for 17 years. His talent for art lay dormant during those years, but re-emerged in the late 1980s.
Reyes began as a self-taught artist, then decided to pursue formal art education. He graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997. He then returned to the Bay Area and has lived in Oakland since 1998. In 1999 he opened his current art studio, located in the Jingletown neighborhood of Oakland’s Fruitvale district.
Throughout the years Reyes has produced a large and diverse portfolio. Until recently his work has been primarily representational and includes oil paintings, drawings, and prints. Reyes has regularly drawn from live models which allow him to depict the beauty, strength, and sensuality of the human form. His goal has been to create contemporary work using traditional methodology.
Thematically his figurative work is very much about body language, the conscious and unconscious ways in which our bodies communicate, typically with greater eloquence than verbal language allows.
In the past few years Reyes has created both representational and abstract works using paper cut-outs made with his own handprinted paper. Though he has produced mono prints for many years, the idea of cutting and collaging them arose in late 2014 after seeing “The Cut-Outs” exhibition of Matisse’s work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. There he has an epiphany of sorts which took his work in an entirely new direction.
The pieces in this exhibition include works spanning from 1991 (pre-art school) to the present day. They include drawings and paintings, primarily of the human figure; printwork including intaglio and woodblock prints; and recent work in paper cut-outs of figures or abstract imagery. In viewing these samples of Reyes’s work the viewer will trace the artist’s evolution of subject, ideas, technique, and style.
Reyes’s work is meant to arouse the senses, to conjure emotional states, to enliven curiosity, and to instigate the telling of a story.