- Where the magic happens.
Reisfar's work has a Latin American influence; the figures are rendered like those of Diego Rivera or Antonio Ruiz. In Maria and Child, the breastfeeding mother's hair transforms into artery and umbilical cord ala Frida Kahlo, while her masked face draws from the indigenous revolution. "In parts of the Zapatista movement, they have these pamphlets, and the imagery in them, especially the female Zapatistas, is very powerful," Reisfar says. While initially surrealist, Reisfar's paintings are not about dream worlds, but full of intentionally applied symbols. The drama in the work is not happenstance from the subconscious, but grounded, as he says, in "anarchist history and theory." One piece is blatantly anti-war; a soldier with a leering skull greets a smiling baby and a female figure that cannot face him or the viewer. In El Cazadore, a great white shark signifies a menacing force ("great white: GW," Reisfar points out) while a Zapatista child stands in defiance. In Gaurdian, a Native American child begins to unravel. Reisfar is confronting big subject matter: death, organized religion, war, propaganda and white guilt.
Technically, Reisfar's work is drenched in the past. Painted on discarded windows, found or donated, the pieces seem antiqued. "I have a collection of my great grandmothers early National Geographic collection, from say 1900 to 1975, and they are full of weird, odd, images, religious imagery, lots of World War I and II photographs, many of them hand tinted strangely, like the worlds' first airbrushing." The influence of hand tinting comes through in the eggshell blues, pastel tans, aged army green and sepia, while the costuming of the subjects imply a similarly antiqued time period.
"I used to try to finish a painting before I went to sleep, because I thought, 'what if I died, and this is my last painting?' I don't want the left arm to be disproportionate."
Reisfar's painting are on display at Hot Box Betty, and online at www.AlexReisfar.com