Continuing through April 21, 2017
At 28 years old, New Mexico artist Reyes Padilla's inaugural exhibition, titled “Synesthesia,” is about the artist’s sensory fusion in which sound is simultaneously perceived through sight. “Synesthesia" literally means “joined perception,” and is a fairly common neurological phenomenon where the stimulation of one sense involuntarily triggers another. While some synesthetes are plagued by excessive stimulation, others, like Padilla, utilize their concurrent senses to fuel artistic endeavors. Wassily Kandinsky, David Hockney and Billy Joel are part of a long list of notable artists and musicians with synesthesia.
Padilla listens to music while he paints, actively illustrating the distinct shapes he sees with every sound. Linear washes of black and white hues are layered on the canvas with painterly precision and directive movement. His street art aesthetic is met with lyrical abstraction as each shape traces the rhythm of a sultry jazz song or vibrates with the pulse of an electronic beat. Padilla’s monochromatic palette accentuates all the paintings’ reductivist forms and measured movements, contributing to the artist’s alluring contemporary style. The paintings here provide the first step into the chaos of Padilla’s mind, while the floor to ceiling mural in the back gallery envelops us in an overwhelming synesthetic experience. Somewhat reminiscent of a Keith Haring’s style, the mural gives the exhibition an intriguing additional dimension, leaving us with a dizzying perspective aligned with both the artist’s aesthetic intention and the intrinsic reality of his condition.