Suburban Lawns features works from several series of Zach Reini’s distinct body of work, but in spite of its title the color green is markedly absent from the exhibition. Monochromatic black on black paintings of American icons and popular brands such as Mickey Mouse and Coca-Cola comment on the incessant dissemination of these images through advertising and the Internet until they blend into any given surrounding and become part of a universal, collective image library, devoid of their symbolic potency. Reini’s series of Braille paintings—white dots arranged on black backgrounds to spell random phrases in the alphabet used by the visually impaired—bring attention to the exclusive nature of art. Their tactile relief could be felt if one would run a finger over them, and the phrases could be understood by a blind person competent in Braille. But with neither situation likely to occur in an art museum, the paintings are left to stand as stark, yet incomprehensive messages. Reini’s Observed Sculptures recreate arrangements of randomly encountered everyday items. Assembled to heighten awareness of their visual presence within the context of the exhibition, they merge a minimalist aesthetic with a straightforward sense of humor, revealing the absurdities of both art and life.
The term Suburban Lawns invokes images of uniformity and compliance with established norms. In a cultural landscape where all edges and differences have been smoothed out and replaced with sameness, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish individual identities and meanings. By taking the flattening effect to its consequential extreme, Reini creates an opportunity to rediscover the seemingly familiar and reacquaint ourselves with our own cultural identity.
Zach Reini was born in 1990. He lives in Denver, Colorado, where he is currently pursuing a BFA with an emphasis in painting from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. He has been studio assistant to John McEnroe and Clark Richert. His work has been shown at Illiterate Gallery, Rule Gallery, and RedLine, Denver.