rea Souders’s show offered a juicy, kaleidoscopic concert of colors and shapes. The artist combines images created by the camera with watercolor splashes, mirrors, found objects, and personal mementos. The results are layered palimpsests compressed into lustrous ink-jet prints.
Viewing necessitated decoding place and space. A flattened heap of photographic slivers converges inward in Mountains Without Faces #13 (2012), while in Mille Fleurs (2011), Souders’s lens frames a mirror pane nestled in a bucolic field. Here, buttercups and daisies lie strewn over a sky-blue surface, proliferating through reflection over and around the hard edges of the glass. Like many works in the show, this composition was formed in the pupils of the observers’ eyes as they worked to comprehend the perspectival relationships’ interlocking elements and layers. In Black Ball (2012) and Modern Day Halo (2010), crisp globs of color—yellow disks and purple-blue spatters—are reached for and manipulated by hands that look like shadowy photograms. In other frames, found images imbued with private meaning—pictures of Napoleon, goldfish, dead irises—are juxtaposed with jewel tone brush marks, rendering the images lifelike against the stasis of the readymades.
Souders’s work is an eloquent meditation on the age-old artistic obsession with illusions, illumination, and perspective.
A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 114.