Reginald K. Gee

Painting Style of 814 BC, 1999
Oil pastel on grocery bag
13.50 x 12 in
SKU: 10865c
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Painting Style of 814 BC, of 1999, is one of Gee’s paper bag pastel series, and an homage to another artistic influence, Pablo Picasso. Here the artist humorously evokes literal “primitivism” in his title (style of 814 BC) and executes the face of a woman in the proto-Cubist African mask inspired style of Picasso’s Three Women and Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Gee imitates Picasso’s formal innovation by using the forms and conceptual logic of non-Western art. Following the Spanish master, the artist reduces the image to a web of interlocking forms in which a single plane defines multiple contours. Unlike Picasso, however, the artist uses color to define the planes of the figure’s face. Gee melds the image with the surface of the work by flattening the picture plane with areas of color.

13 1/2" x 12" art
20 3/4" x 18 7/8" frame
Framed to conservation in a shadow box style frame. Mounted on 100% rag foam core and housed in a slim rounded contemporary gold frame.

Reginald K. Gee was born in Milwaukee on April 28, 1964 to Native American and African American parents and spent most of his childhood on the northwest side of Milwaukee in the Havenwoods neighborhood. Gee has been creating art since 1982, and his professional art debut began in 1986 at an outdoor exhibition at Milwaukee’s Performing Arts Center. Gee is primarily self-taught. He refers to himself as a visionary Neo-Expressionist. Like the Neo-Expressionists, his work is characterized by its raw depiction of subjects, the use of textural and expressive brushwork and intense colors. According to Sotheby’s auction house, Neo-Expressionist art, “[a]s a reflection of the postmodern world,” is characterized by a “sense of tension, alienation and ambiguity” and is “often accompanied by playfulness and parody.” Gee counts among his artistic influences Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and David Salle. He is a brilliant colorist who has produced a body of work numbering in the hundreds, including a series of pastels on brown paper bags executed from 1999-2007, some of which were among the works shown at a 25-year retrospective at the David Barnett Gallery in 2013. The artist has been featured at the Outsider Art Fair in New York, the National Black Fine Arts Show, and the Chicago Black Art Expo. In 2002, two of Gee’s paintings, The Inspiration and Honest Crowd, were selected for inclusion in a Smithsonian traveling exhibition honoring the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Another Gee painting, Nationwide Tobacco Ban, c 1998, was chosen for a campaign against smoking sponsored by the American Lung Association. According to the Milwaukee Journal in 1999, the artist had a spiritual epiphany that compelled him to move to San Francisco, start a ministry among the homeless, and continue to pursue the art career he began in Milwaukee.