In Tired Eyes, Lara de Los Reyes began with an idea to play with the space of the gallery and make it a challenge to view the pieces, as much as it was for her as an artist to fully utilize such given space. She wants to present something different in every show, and for this new exhibit, she gathered a set of portrait pictures from the Internet and generic paintings one would normally view on unassuming wallets or walls.
“From there I constructed these images of a girl with no eyes at different stages of her life. I suppose when one is met with the image of a living breathing person with no eyes, the attraction would be total aversion or an impulse to stare,” notes de los Reyes. “We are probably left thinking how they’ve managed to carry on with life and how they can go on further. You get that stupid cliché in your head, ‘Only a mother could love such a thing/person.’ Perhaps this is the same quality I want with these pieces, to question their extent, and it, therefore, turns into a waiting game.”
De los Reyes recalls feeling nauseous and kept gagging while she was working on the paintings. Somehow she felt it was the appropriate reaction to the process. She added a certain glow around the images, and the text “Shit Hap” was stamped in pink neon lights to keep that interplay with space “difficult and disorienting.” Space is her main inspiration. “I read a lot of science stuff now, including quantum science and geology, so, perhaps, that played a role in it too.”
In her view, painting is such an infinite discipline that “needs to be discovered and messed around with over and over. “One can regress or progress; there isn’t any wrong or right [way to do it]. It’s always an exploration of surface, material, and space.” She is not underestimating the importance of examining ideas, but, to her, “the physicality of paint alone is a worthy attraction and challenge.”
“I’m always constantly trying to achieve how to get it down to its most basic quality, but I continually jump back and forth from fighting to relenting. Ultimately my goal or objective is not only for the show but for the act of practice in itself, to strip it down. It doesn’t necessarily have to convey what one would consider conventionally pretty things or how mimetic they are to what we normally perceive. Paint doesn’t have to be loyal to those notions, they can be blindly self-referential.”
De los Reyes admits she studied entrepreneurship “for dad,” who first taught her how to use crayons and understand color. “However, when he saw that I was developing a great interest for art, he tried to throw me off it a couple of times.” Still, she found a way to go back to study art formally, partly because of her keen interest and partly as an act of rebellion, knowing she was expected to take a safe route. The art program, though, made her realize she “needed it because I was completely clueless what to make of art. And sometimes I still am. I had to throw out everything I supposedly knew.”
To this day, a full-time painter, she is still learning.