‘spread’ Delivers A Bountiful Visual Feast At The Reese Gallery

By Rob Levy
In Culture

The movies of John Hughes have got nothing on the vibrant coming-of-age awkwardness and adolescent angst emanating from Reese Gallery’s inaugural pop-up exhibition, “spread.” The exhibition, running now through Aug. 13, unites the triumvirate of Elizabeth Tucker (co-founder of ALIVE), designer Michael Drummond (a veteran of “Project Runway”) and photographer Kat Reynolds, a former dancer whose visual pedigree includes bold images that breathe in their own skin.

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Photo by Kat Reynolds

The result of this radical partnership is 12 evocative pieces that coalesce into profoundly moving exposition about sexual tension; self-awareness and formative anxiety that uses these themes to examine how youthful urges mold the cravings, lusts and interests of adult life.

“spread” clicks with a kinetic dynamism forged from a synthesis of printed journal entries from Tucker, Drummond’s audacious fashions and ethereal visuals from Reynolds. It came together quickly, beginning over conversation and coffee and culminating with a February photoshoot at Tucker’s childhood home in Wildwood, where the preeminent writer and publisher spent time changing in and out of metallic costumes in the back of a Prius.

Drummond, a fashion force of nature, was delighted to cohabit a new frontier with Reynolds. “For me, the biggest take-away was working with Kat in terms of professionalism. We made a pact, if something (as in our personal lives) an idea, a look, or a composition etc., didn’t work, we could veto it and ‘no hard feelings,'” he say. “That made it extremely easy and efficient to work with her. It was a very visceral experience coupled with great chemistry.”

Reynolds found the concerted creativity of “spread” to be a cathartic and therapeutic blossoming. “I met with Elizabeth and she said how she wanted something different and that she wanted to work with me. She was a friend of Michael’s as well, so we all came together and came up with a collaborative idea based off of her writing,” she says. “We tried to extrapolate details from that as to how we could relate the visual aspect to it.”

Drummond and Reynolds each harnessed their own perspective to address Tucker’s themes of adolescence and sexual awareness represented in the show. Reynolds observed how these ideas were vital for her photographs. She explains, “For me, this whole premise of adolescence as a rebellious type of radical energy is what I took from her words about her sexuality and adolescence.” She continues, “There’s a lot of mixed emotions, a lot of energy and high emotion that you really start to lose as you get older, which is really unfortunate. That was the kind of energy I wanted to put into the images.”

Photo by Kat Reynolds

Photo by Kat Reynolds

In the case of Drummond, it wasn’t just the clothes that made the man. “The only way I could really address it was from my memory and experiences of my own. I vividly remember the awakening of feelings. Everything feels so raw, alive, yet confusing with this information you have picked up from favorite books, stories from the neighborhood, fantasies of your own making. I wanted the visuals to reflect that.”

At the core of “spread” is Tucker’s prose, serving as a catalyst for creativity and a nexus for profound collaboration. Intense, potent and grounded in the bedrock of experience, her words, as Drummond points out, were a driving force for the tandem. “I feel hopefully like Kat and I extracted the essence of those deep intense feelings that you have as a young person falling in love for the first time,” he says. “We tried to interpret them into a physical, dramatic, ethereal, and surreal narrative.”

Opened in March of 2014, Reese Gallery highlights innovative artists who possess a sensitive understanding of materiality within the context of contemporary art and culture across writing, photography and wearable fashion.

Open Wednesday and Saturday from 1-4 pm during exhibition run. Call 314.954.7638 to schedule an appointment.

For more information visit, thereesegallery.com.

 

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