Roland Reiss in Artforum

by Kathryn Scanlan

"Roland Reiss died at ninety-one in December 2020. His career spanned sixty years, and he was actively making art until the end of his life. Two solo shows in 2018 and one in 2019 featured his recent “unapologetic” (as he deemed them) flower paintings alongside newer iterations of his “small stories,” the boxed Plexiglas dioramas he became known for in the 1970s and ’80s. “Roland Reiss: The Castle of Perseverance” at the Diane Rosenstein Gallery was a presentation of objects made between 1962 and 2020, with a focus on the sculptural. Included were six of the artist’s tableaux from the series “Adult Fairy Tales,” 1983–2020, miniature versions of the American workplace—stages for ambiguous psychological dramas—in vitrines. In five pieces from this body of work, men and women in office attire stand stiffly in proximate yet isolated positions, flanked by vertical posts inscribed with words such as JUSTICE, HOPE, RECTITUDE, AVARICE, DECEIT, and ILLUSION. In the most elaborate construction, Adult Fairy Tales: Language and Myth, 1983, a woman watches from the corner of a monochrome-gray office while another woman speaks to a man; elsewhere, a pickax leans conspicuously against a desk." [...]

 

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September 1, 2021
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