Rehs Contemporary - New York
The artwork being produced by current contemporary artists is likely the broadest and most eclectic period in human history. Ranging from pre-made and found items, to abstract, to photorealist, to digital NFT’s – it would be truly difficult for anyone to describe what “today’s art” really is in any concise way. But when we look back at what art has been, we usually think of paintings on canvas or drawings on paper, of people, places and things that are recognizable.
Nestled in the heart of Midtown New York sits Rehs Contemporary, a family-owned and operated gallery showcasing representational works of art. Founded in the 1930s, Rehs Galleries, Inc. has operated as an art destination in Manhattan for nearly 100 years! With an extensive history in selling Academic paintings, the contemporary arm of the gallery was developed to be a platform for contemporary artists carrying on those technical traditions of Academic Art.
There is a fine craft to it all, not to say all the work is overly serious, but there is a clear and obvious standard being upheld. Technique is the priority and the level of work being presented follows in suit.
In entering the space, you are greeted by rich blue velvet walls playing host to continuously rotating exhibits – the three gallery rooms allow for curation to create a trio of unique experiences. Currently on display are the whimsical and light-hearted works of Lucia Heffernan; her exhibition, Spirit Animal, features 15 new paintings where various animals take on a human persona. With subjects encompassing protesting cows, to a seal relaxing in a bubble bath, to a surfing mouse, there is a bit of a hilarious absurdity to the compositions which convey the remarkable creativity of the artist.
In all, Rehs Contemporary maintains a roster of 35 artists, including young artists who are just emerging in the artworld all the way to prolific artists who are late in their careers. Perhaps most notably is John Stobart; at 91, he is regarded as the preeminent marine painter of today. Over the course of a long, successful career, Stobart has completed more than 1,000 works of art… and he is still painting! He meticulously recreates historic scenes of prominent vessels and ports, in painstakingly accurate detail all the way down to the rigging on the ships.
On the other end of the spectrum are artists like Josh Tiessen, who is still very early on in his career, but the caliber of work truly rivals the best of the best. At just 25 years old, Tiessen has already completed hundreds of works and participated in more than 100 exhibitions around the world. Widely thought of as a child-prodigy, the Canadian artist spends countless hours developing and refining his paintings – his most ambitious taking more than 1,700 hours!
The gallery also looks beyond its own borders for talent, representing a number of international artists. Both Hiroshi Furuyoshi and Mitsuru Watanabe gained notoriety in their home country of Japan and looked to expand their presence abroad – Furuyoshi scrupulously renders miniature portraits that are no more than a few inches, whereas Watanabe constructs towering scenes inspired by historical masters. Tony South, who hails from the United Kingdom, takes a more amusing approach to his work – muscle cars, motorcycles, or musical instruments with a primitive twist. His compositions place a mix of chimps, monkeys, and apes as the stars of the show; seated atop a Harley, or behind a piano smoking a cigarette.
The underlying thread that connects it all is the quality of what is being presented. Each artist is a master of their craft, but their distinct approach and ingenuity affords a breadth of intriguing artwork that appeals to a wide audience. Dedicated to presenting truly talented artists, Rehs Contemporary continues to be a leader in the contemporary art scene, and a reliable source for art worthy of collecting.