The art of Reece Tong is the art of simplification and essentialisation.
Forms are flattened, shapes are reduced, designs are repeated and
patterns are created.
His process is methodical: paint is applied in a workman-like
manner, thoughtfully, and never hurried, like the classic roadside
labourer (and Reece has done his share of such jobs). Reece grew
up around the small farming communities of New Plymouth on New
Zealand’s west coast. He worked at various labouring jobs before
applying himself to his artwork at the studios of Vincent’s Community Art workshop in Wellington.
His work is primarily graphic and is expressed through a variety of
materials and techniques, from papiermâché and clay, to carved and painted wooden reliefs. His intuitive process of transforming objects to a kind of primal essence, invites the comparison of his work to that of tribal-aboriginal art making, but this is a natural association and
there is no hint of a forced or studied approximation of style.
Through the lens of his visual language Reece is free to describe
his world, and his choice of subject matter injects the work with his
character and his humour. All kinds of things get described in the
work: local sports grounds, dolphins, shopping malls, birds. Text is
used simply as identifying labels, guides to meaning, and the letters
are treated as component shapes that become part of the overall