Abstract painter Jennifer Wynne Reeves died Sunday, June 22 at 51 from brain cancer. Born in Royal Oak, Mich., the artist had lived in New York State for nearly 20 years. Her works combined painted abstractions with bits of things—wire, hair, popsicle sticks, lines of her own poetry—in subtle, often storytelling assemblages.
After studying at the Vermont Studio School (1984-85) and being included in group painting and drawing shows across the eastern United States, Reeves held her first solo exhibition in 1992 at Chicago’s Crux Gallery. She mounted solo shows at venues including Art & Place in Geneva (1999); Gian Enzo Sperone in Rome (1999); Max Protetch Gallery in New York (2001); the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts (2001); Galeria Joan Prats in Barcelona (2004); and numerous shows at Galeria Ramis Barquet in both New York and Monterrey, Mexico. Her most recent solo, “The Worms in the Walls at Mondrian’s House,” was held in 2013 at New York’s BravinLee programs.
Reeves was also known for her writing. From 1989 to 2013, the artist produced poetry, autobiographical essays, and a graphic novel (The Anyway Ember, 2008). Last year, Reeves published Soul Bolt, a book of prose and her own setup photography.
“Jennifer was an incredible person and a terrific artist,” BravinLee cofounder John Post Lee told A.i.A. via phone today, “and she had an impact beyond the art world with her writing. She had a huge Facebook following for diaristic posts that combined her art with her texts.”
In 2012, Reeves was selected as a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. The prize funded the publication of Soul Bolt.