Whether on a wall or canvas, you can feel the influences of pop, graffiti culture, advertising, and both high- and low-brow art in James Reka’s work. The artist maintains both a mural and gallery practice in this sensibility, presenting the figurative in both vibrant and unexpected ways. Reka was last mentioned on HiFructose.com here, and he was featured in Hi-Fructose print publication in Vol. 17.
Australian artist Reka (covered here), now based in Berlin, has become recognized for the colorful and energetic aesthetic of his graffiti and paintings. The figures in his work have a variety of characteristics that are whimsical, yet bold and vigorous. His new body of work, “OLYMPVS,” on view at AvantGarden Gallery in Italy, continues to mix contradicting styles. Inspired by scenes from Ancient Greece and its Mount Olympus, Reka’s new pieces combine classical themes with a futuristic look. In poppy, vibrant colors, fragmented into Cubist compositions, he depicts bathing nudes, marble busts, and still life.
In his upcoming solo exhibition at Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, James Reka examines the transition in a city from winter to spring. Perhaps no other city experiences such a drastic change during this time, than does Berlin, which come April is flooded with people riding bikes, picnicking in parks and soaking up the sunshine. Earlier this year, Reka came to Berlin as the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Urban Nation Workspace in the former West Berlin neighborhood of Schöneberg. His abstract paintings of women pulse with a dynamic spirit that captures not only the city’s newfound spring life, but also Berlin’s struggles with gentrification. Working in Schöneberg, an area noted for both its upscale residences and regular prostitutes, Reka is no stranger to this paradox of imported poshness and crude authenticity.