memetico – Sam Rey
Artist Sam Rey was born in Mexico and lived for many years in the US, The Netherlands and Italy before arriving in Australia. His latest exhibition memetico is currently on exhibition at Gallery Mercure. here’s a glimpse of opening night earlier this month.
His career to date has included a brief stint at The Factory with Andy Warhol, designing and selling his own fashion label in Italy, using found objects to create new art, working with mosaics, and mimicking the natural world through the experimental use of painted forms.
Sam speaks of the ‘fourth dimension’ he observes in Australia, where “everything looks like the peeling bark of trees: clouds; landscapes; walls.” He’s well known for wearing camouflage – mimetico in Italian: “There is something universal about it…it’s a pattern in itself, yet it blends in with all around it.”
According to Sam, memetico moves between two intentions. The first is the mimetic – camouflage and the joyous blending of colours and textures. The second is the memetic, in which something repeats – is read and re-read, becoming transfigured through multiplicity into what Sam sometimes calls ‘Unintentional Art’.
These blended acrylic, oil and varnish portraits of trees have been developed from an extensive collection of digital photographs taken over many years while wandering through antipodean landscapes. You’ll find the same tree sometimes reworked. In one piece it’s wet following rain, in another black from fire, the same lines detectable, the same wound glossy with gum.
Sam became an Australian citizen last year, marking a new stage of his life, in what he calls ‘The Land of Camouflage.’ “This country is full of people like me, strange birds settling in, sort of…blending with the foliage.”
Take a look at this mini-documentary commissioned by Gallery Mercure: Sam at work in his Studio.
Homepage image portrait of artist Sam Rey, and Robina, who had just purchased a painting, by photographer Kent Johnson.
memetico runs until 10 May
Level 2 of Mercure Sydney, Potts Point right above Kings Cross train station – 226 Victoria Street