Jack Reilly (b. 1950) widely recognized as a trailblazer in the Abstract Illusion Movement, a style where paintings ‘bend the eye’ to achieve three-dimensionality on a two-dimensional surface, returns to Southern California for a concise but stirring re-evaluation of his artistic production.
In 1980, Reilly burst into L.A. with his solo show at the indomitable Molly Barnes Gallery (a tastemaker who gave early shows to John Baldessari, Billy Al Bengston and Gronk). This formative exhibition helped to cement Reilly’s reputation of creating visually powerful and unique works of art – works that converge abstract expressionistic boldness, minimalist restraint with trompe l’oeil wonderment.
As Suzanne Muchnic, Los Angeles Times art critic, observed, “He does offer immediate pleasure in carefully orchestrated compositions, meticulous technique, complexity of shadows and ambiguity of light source.”
Impressed by Reilly’s unique style exhibited at the Barnes Gallery, Donald Brewer (then Director of LA’s first museum -USC’s Fisher Gallery) quickly arranged for Reilly to be a featured artist for The Reality of Illusion, a national traveling exhibition (Denver Art Museum, Oakland Museum, Johnson Museum at Cornell, and USC Fisher Gallery). From then on, there was no looking back.
Reilly’s prolific artistic output has resulted in numerous public commissions, domestic and international exhibitions, and his works are in the permanent collection of several museums throughout the country.
As the CMATO exhibition will show, Reilly’s works are bright, clean and constrained by geometry but not artistic convention. Although the Getty Museum’s Pacific Standard Time exhibition (2012) solidified Reilly’s place in the zeitgeist of the 80’s – an era of extremes, political movements, the beginning of globalization- do not be mistaken in thinking his works are out of time with our age. His works are perpetual manifestations of an artist’s investigation of the human condition – an ageless inquiry into the nature of our being.
Balancing Act: Paintings by Jack Reilly complements CMATO’s permanent installation of Betty Gold’s sculptures.