Peristalsis is Billy Reynolds’ first solo exhibition at Black Maria. The show illustrates the progression of Reynolds’ work. As a result, it has evolved into a narrative look at the characters he creates and how the pieces fit together.
Billy Reynolds’ fascination with the inner workings of the body inspired the title of the exhibition, Peristalsis, as it is the rhythmic contraction of smooth muscles. He distorts his figures, cuts into them forcing the viewer to look inside. According to Reynolds, “We are confronted with all of our internal intricacies, thus become aware of just how delicate and complex our operating systems are. And in this day and age, we often forget that we are ‘only human’.”
Gallery Director Zara Zeitountsian describes the progression of the exhibition as, “It begins with the classic story of boy meet girl, but we’re not dealing with boys or girls. To rephrase, Reynolds’ characters meet (one decidedly “malesque” and the other “femalesque”) and the next thing you know, a third “character” is rendered at its Entrance into Reynolds’ world. The characters become more and more organic and lifelike, which leads to the next stage in the development of the work - the human form (however distorted and inhuman it may seem).“ The narrative concludes with a glimpse into the artists new direction with Gluten, a representation of the female form, sliced open and stuffed with a common wheat-based breakfast cereal.
Billy Reynolds earned his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2004. His work reverberates between the familiar and the odd, the beautiful and the perverse, the unsettling and the captivating. Even with the direction change, Billy Reynolds’ manages to keep his quirky yet sentimental humor intact.