READ LABELS WITH CARE
James Rieck's newest body of work, "ColorSafe," is a continuation of his earlier paintings sourced from clothing catalogs but with a focus on color and pattern. These 'vintage' images come with all sorts of inferred ideas about the aspirations of the American dream, often from a white, middle-class, conservative perspective. Rieck's paintings are constructed from images used by mainstream department store catalogs from the late 1960s / early 70s. This was a particularly turbulent time for social change in this country, yet here on the pages of these traditional catalogs, where time often seems to stand still (frozen), a shift was taking place. This was a new era in American history, where white models and models of color were standing side-by-side in equal status as if they were friends and having fun - posing in pairs, laughing, joking and sharing secrets. Given the racial divides of the time, were they just acting/modeling then or was there actual camaraderie? Did we believe them, or did we just want to believe them? Rieck conceptualizes these idyllic moments via the loaded content about race and class that ensues. Issues that we as a culture are still working through today.