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Josh Reames

Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

November 11 - December 20, 2017

Josh Reames  90 Different Ways, 2017  Acrylic on canvas mounted on trampoline 99.5 x 167 x 38 in

Josh Reames 
90 Different Ways, 2017
Acrylic on canvas mounted on trampoline
99.5 x 167 x 38 in.

Josh Reames Broom, 2017 Push-brooms and scaled bumper stickers  57 x 36 x 32 in (each)

Josh Reames
Broom, 2017
Push-brooms and scaled bumper stickers
57 x 36 x 32 in. (each)

Josh Reames Wheat from Chaffe, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 42 in.

Josh Reames
Wheat from Chaffe, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 42 in.

Josh Reames Vanitas, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 42 in.

Josh Reames
Vanitas, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 42 in.

Josh Reames Swept, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 60 x 50 in.

Josh Reames
Swept, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
60 x 50 in.

Josh Reames Rubble, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 42 in.

Josh Reames
Rubble, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 42 in.

Josh Reames Skid Marks, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 42 in.

Josh Reames
Skid Marks, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 42 in.

Josh Reames Other People's Vices, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 72 x 60 in.

Josh Reames
Other People's Vices, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
72 x 60 in.

 

Josh Reames Liberty, 2017  Acrylic on canvas  ​72 x 84 in.

Josh Reames
Liberty, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
72 x 84 in.

Josh Reames  Lady Liberty, 2017  Acrylic on canvas  84 x 72 in.

Josh Reames 
Lady Liberty, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
84 x 72 in.

Josh Reames Cut Off, 2017  Acrylic on canvas  ​60 x 50 in.

Josh Reames
Cut Off, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
60 x 50 in.

Josh Reames Bystanders, 2017  Acrylic on canvas 60 x 50 in.

Josh Reames
Bystanders, 2017
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 50 in.

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses

Installation View of Josh Reames: Don't Cross Streams While Trading Horses 

Press Release

In Don’t Cross Streams While Trading Horses, Reames dismantles symbols associated with American economic and political power. Referencing Abraham Lincoln’s acceptance speech for a second-term nomination in which he modestly stated that it was best not to “swap horses while crossing the river,” Reames inverts the sentiment to draw focus to the transactional nature of the expression while using humor to editorialize business as usual. Reames usurps emotion-saturated metaphors and codified visual signs—logos, mottos, anthems, seals—everything that stabilizes status quo is placed on the chopping block. Brooms sweep up dirt. Snakes lose their heads. Cars drive off cliffs. Painting is protest and Reames’ paintings are akin to burning flags that illuminate the dusk by setting fire to the establishment. The paintings in Don’t Cross Streams While Trading Horses depict symbols perforated by tromp l’oeil singes and torch-burned holes. Metaphoric destruction can be as revelatory as the real thing.

In the spirit of Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter’s Capitalist Realism, Reames appropriates ideas that stand-in for American identity, using the familiar and abstractions of the familiar as an apparatus to 

critique. Reames channels his training as a printmaker and his knowledge of the history of printed matter, highlighting the notion of the free press as a vehicle for mass dissemination of revolutionary ideas. Reames proves that the graphic language of political satire and visualizations of the American dream are elastic and emotional, their meanings easily manipulated by those in power—sentiments echoed in a grand gesture in which he manipulates a trampoline to display a painting of an American flag. The works in Don’t Cross Streams While Trading Horses demonstrate an attempt to portray a new reality while disrupting the traditional functions of formal space, content, and narrative. Don’t Cross Streams While Trading Horses reflects on a new age of violence and turmoil with constant reminders of the role that image creation plays within it.

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