Before the Sands

Erik ReeL, #1783, Egypt Before the Sands, acrylic on canvas, 42 x 36 inches | 107 x 92 cm, 2013

Before the Sands [from the Gurdjieffian phrase “Egypt before the sands”], is one of a set of three paintings that was exhibited in the Standing in Boots show at the WAV [Working Artists Ventura] with Nash Rightmer in 2014. The WAV originally gave me a solo show, but I saw that Nash was close to a personal breakthrough in his painting and giving him a show might help him get to the next level for himself, which turned out to be what happened.

We hung the show in the afternoon and were sitting there together under the roll-up doors of the WAV space hanging out and enjoying the balmy evening air, when a young woman came in, started walking into the space, then suddenly stopped. This look came over her face. Her jaw dropped. Until that moment I had always thought that this was just an expression. I’d never seen someone actually drop their jaw like that.  This happened a couple more times. That’s when we knew we had a show. In a space that typically gets 20-30 people at an opening, at most maybe 50, our opening had just under 500. We only served water; no food, no alcohol. The opening went an hour past its closing because we couldn’t get people out of the space; no one would leave.  There was definitely this wonderful energy in the space that I had only personally experienced before at openings for artists like Warhol or Basquiat. Never in California.  A good night for sure.

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