Cutback: Surfing Through Art will showcase the work of contemporary Australian artists responding to alternative aspects of surf culture. The exhibition features two paintings by Joel Rea.
Gallery 1, February 14 – March 22, 2015. Gold Coast City Art Gallery. Featuring: Chris Bennie, Shaun Gladwell, Andrew Kidman, William Mackinnon, Nanda Ormond, Ben Rak and Joel Rea
Joel Rea’s hyper real painting Resolution pictures a young man – a self-portrait of the artist from behind. Dressed in a suit, he holds a briefcase and sports a ponytail as he stands on the shore’s edge before a momentous wave. Office paper is strewn on the sand. While undoubtedly surreal, the painting depicts its subject paying homage to the superiority of nature. In his artist statement Rea notes that for him the wave represents the Grim Reaper, with the man “about to die in calm salute…” In that small but pure moment, there’s a welcome opportunity to look back over his life.
-Sharne Wolff for Raven Contemporary, 2015.
Rea’s two hyper-real oil on canvas paintings darkly reveal the deadlier side to the glossy images of Gold Coast beaches that we know so well. In Resolution, a tsunami wave looks set to engulf the artist, who has painted himself into the scene as a standard office worker. This office worker could be any one of us and his very placement asks us a question: when death comes, are you who you want to be? He is misplaced and dressed for neither the beach nor his death, suggesting an untimely death. Indeed, all he can do to stop the inevitable is hold up a stack of papers to uselessly quell his foe.
-Ashleigh Wadman for Artshub, 2015.