Emmy Lee Wall @emmyleewall : Your most recent body of work is a series depicting an ambiguous tent colony in the woods and related landscapes. The tents could be a group of people enjoying the outdoors, perhaps people at a festival, or even a homeless colony. Can you tell us a bit about your thinking in this new series?
Ben Reeves @benreevesecuad : I like the openness of these pictures. Their diverse (even contradictory) readings seem contemporary—reflecting a complicated relationship with “nature.”The pictures tap into the Romantic tradition, but also turn that on its head. People are no longer simply subservient to the awesome power of “nature,” but in the anthropocene era, humans are driving climate change. And, equipped with MEC tents, the outdoors has become a space of leisure.
Also, the tents are like bodies. And their different styles and colours (along with a varied range of painterly language) suggest diversity. These huddled groupings describe a provisional community or nascent social order. This may be utopian, but could also allude to tent cities and displaced peoples. -🍃Photo : Ben Reeves, Handshake Drugs, 2017, oil and acrylic on canvas, 57 x 72 inches #benreeves #interview