Reyes Projects is pleased to announce The Style: Dweller On the Threshold, a solo exhibition by Miles Huston, opening on Thursday, July 19. The exhibition is comprised of large kaleidoscopic drawings, demonstrations the artist uses to re-contextualize the De Stijl school’s principles of Neoplasticism—the reduction of form to a universal language towards “the balance of equivalent relations” using planes and color.
De Stijl arose in the immediate aftermath of World War One alongside other revolutionary artistic modes seeking to pioneer new aesthetic forms in response to the devastation of conflict. Artists including Theo van Doesburg, Piet Modrian, and Gerrit Rietveld aimed not only to put forth a new “style,” but also to reintroduce the Artist, Designer, and Architect to society in order to “set up human thought and human
ingeniousness against the capriciousness and arbitrary action of natural forces.” 100 years later, this powerful idea can be summed up in one word: Algorithm.
The show consists of seven simple-system “Verse” drawings created by Huston using the primary set of colors laid out by Theo Van Doesburg for De Stijl: Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Black, White, and Grey. Within these color constraints, each drawing uses a colored product counterpart, the material dimensions of which inform the algorithmic line system. These products, easily purchased on the internet and now encrypted as images, represent a curious spectrum in our modern world of civilized life: the Red barbecue grill (oven), a Blue workman’s cooler (refrigeration), a White box fan (air circulation), a Black Firestone tire (distribution), a Green garden hose (irrigation), the Yellow container (sanitized storage), and Grey duct tape (adhesion). Together, they are proxy for the cooperative achievement in basic design that augments the postwar period. As a group, they are analogous to a military relief package for deployment in some unknown territory. They are the physical embodiment of the “Plastic Arts,” delivered to your door with a click of a button.
This body of work is a proposal for a kind of “cultural neuroplasticity” seen through the lens and spiritual underpinnings of De Stijl. H.L.C. Jaffé writes, “We must continue to reinvestigate these ‘laws of artistic creation’, as phenomena; a collective and universal practice of removing the arbitrary, the casual, or what we call ‘Individual Baroque’ from our art.” The search for a collective aesthetic image or form is always in direct conflict with individual impulse. The system in Huston’s drawings provides a framework that he rubs up against—a friction made visible in the nervous energy and hours of coloring that go into the work. Here might live the collective “Dweller,” waiting with their product kit of many colors on the threshold of what could be ahead.