Bio – Ben Reeves


Ben Reeves is a Vancouver artist and a teacher at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.  In his recent work, he alludes to well-known artists such as Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges or Group of Seven painter Tom Tomson, transposing and re-imagining these canonical works in the process.  In Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote, Reeves translates into comic form Borges’s story “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote.”  In so doing, Reeves adds another layer of narration and authorship to a story already replete with authors (Borges, Menard, Quixote, and now Reeves himself).  Translating other people’s work in this way, says Reeves, demonstrates how “a piece of writing can (and does) change when it is placed in different contexts.”  Importantly, a work of art can be “radically altered just by thinking about it differently.”  In Goose 5, Reeves zooms in vertiginously on Tom Tomson’s brushstrokes, copying in minute detail the very texture of Tomson’s work.  In the process, the original work becomes unrecognizable, even as it haunts Reeve’s drawing.  Such work demonstrates that copying can and ought to be distinct from mindless repetition.  Although he aims to be “mindfully oblivious” to copyright law through his investigations, Reeves stresses that it is important for the source material to be significantly altered by the artistic process.