Jaime Brett Treadwell’s paintings gleam like the finish of a newly tricked-out low rider. The candy-colored works on panel feature prismatic geodes levitating above otherworldly mountain ranges and lagoons. Treadwell’s new body of work departs from his formerly pop culture-heavy imagery. Bikini-clad characters once inhabited his intergalactic oases like an MTV Spring Break set in outer space. But for his upcoming show “Trick Magic,” opening at Mirus Gallery in San Francisco on January 17, Treadwell significantly pared down his style and opted to focus on the glossy, alluring geometric forms at his work’s foundation.
As the title “Trick Magic” suggests, Treadwell seeks to create illusions. Though his world is highly fictional, he strives for believability. An expert painter of textures, he plays with reflections and translucency, convincingly rendering the consistencies of glass, jelly, and water. In one piece, a glow stick-hued prism sits atop a surface that shows its twin reflection. But upon examining the background, a discrepancy reveals itself: the prism appears to be floating on a cloud, not on liquid. Treadwell’s planet seems to have its own natural laws. Still, the reflections and shadows in his work give his landscapes a weightiness that makes us believe in their physicality and even picture ourselves exploring them.
“I am attempting to create a sense of reality fused with elements that challenge reality,” wrote the artist in his statement. “I am satisfied when I successfully present an image that feels plausible, but also possesses an unfamiliar mystery.”