new-york

Jennifer Reeves

Stefan Stux Gallery

Jennifer Reeves’ paintings of nondescript outdoor places convey a sense of returning to an unfamiliar yet subliminally recognized site, experienced as always and yet never truly the same. Or is it a locale so familiar that we've forgotten how unfamiliar it is—like the childhood home we think we remember intimately, until an adult visit reveals it as terra incognita? In the 1997 paintings that bear the title Place (each with a number indicating the order of its creation, and most designated as either “Text” or “Situation”), Reeves gives us the idealized image of Place in all its wish-fulfilling magic, rather than any empirical place correlating with a particular (and likely mundane) emotion.

It has been argued that what social scientists call the de-familiarizing effect—take something familiar, change a detail or two, and voilà, you’ve got something new, even “original” and disturbing—is

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