WORDS BY Taylor Carik
New role, new artistic style, new grant, new exhibition: Jodi Reeb has a lot to talk about. But the longtime artist still keeps the focus on her work.
“My work is very nature–based, but diverse,” she says during a visit to her studio at Traffic Zone. “I like to work in series and repetition, and I love form.”
Internationally known for her work with texture-rich encaustic paints, this month Reeb will be opening a new site-specific show, Emergence, at Kolman & Reeb Gallery. Yes, she’s the Reeb in the gallery name. The site of the site-specific show is significant: After being a resident artist at the gallery for the past decade, Reeb recently joined Northeast Arts powerhouse Anita Sue Kolman as a partner, owner, and curator of the popular Northrup King Building artist space.
“I became intrigued with the idea of place and site-specific artworks, and ideas about economy of means as I worked through each installation, using materials such as wire, tape, string, and newsprint,” she says.
Reeb originally began working with the concepts she explores in Emergence during a workshop she attended four years ago. In a departure from her regular artistic practice, she moved rapid-fire through several different pieces, making a temporary installation, tearing it down, and moving on to another one.
For her new pieces, she’s even gone so far as to teach herself how to solder the metal wires that compose some of the organic pieces.
“I also became interested in the idea of the three-dimensional line, mark-making objects, and creating shadows on the wall,” she says, as her artwork evolved from her signature encaustic painting.
Even though she’s set off in a new direction, Reeb’s work continues her careful considerations for the setting of artwork, which has always played a part in her pieces that hang on walls—some in lobbies, some in people’s homes.
And for Emergence, Reeb intends to utilize the gallery’s cement columns, wood floor, and ceiling beams in order to “push the sculptures off the walls and into the space,” she explains. The corners and flat surfaces, as well as the “materiality” throughout the gallery, which also includes a brick back wall and drywall surfaces, has inspired her.
Emergence was funded with the new Project Space grant that aims to create an important project that will significantly impact their artistic careers. “We’re thrilled to support Jodi in this new artistic endeavor through a Project Space grant,” says Kolman. “As an artist [painter, printmaker, and sculptor], Jodi has long been inspired by the forms found in nature. Now, with this exhibition, she’s exploring new materials and new spaces in which to create freeform assemblages that explore these organic shapes.”
Change has been her constant lately, and don’t be surprised if her artist’s evolution continues: After stepping into her new role and new medium, she’s jetting off to Amsterdam to teach the day after her opening reception, so catch her there, in this particularly pivotal moment.