In Summer of 2022, Eloisa Haudenschild invited me to create a site-specific artwork in a residential powder room. At the time I was working on several large-scale public and private projects. Shifting to such an intimate environment was an intriguing opportunity to explore an idea through an immersive installation. My initial proposal focused on the perception of time and how the depth of our experiences impact the way that we perceive the physical world as well as the construction of self and personality. Through several months drafting many iterations—working virtually along with visits to the site as it was being constructed—an understanding of the room developed. My interests gravitated towards the intersections of functional, social, and psychological forces.
Powder rooms are intimate: used for cleansing, composition, and the gathering of thoughts. Toilets and sinks serve sanitary functions, while mirrors allow for both the keeping of appearance and a reminder of cultural expectations (to wash one’s hands). Ubiquitous in nature, the histories of these elements are invisible, and the structure of the rooms are usually a biproduct of the shape of a home and how the rooms are arranged. Their proximity to the place of gathering has a direct relationship to the magnitude of that faintly awkward feeling of being seen leaving it.
Shaped like an organ, the unique quality of the room containing Without Action Fractured Faces emerges through undulating curves that soften the sense of perspective. Having no corners to anchor to, an elegant ethereal presence permeates the space. Though it is not large, it feels expansive. It is adjacent to the main entrance of the home, yet once inside (with a closed and locked door) it is sensorially dislocated from the external. As a place of respite from the social self, one can look inward and cycle through several subtle states of being before returning to the outside world. There is an element of deconstruction and reconstruction in the space, like being dissolved before being made whole.
Elusive shimmers of opalescent tile refract along the transition between acts of purification and the removal of waste. A refined finish white half-turtle-egg sink contrasts jarringly with the austere stainless-steel toilet. Opposing mirrors form a parenthesis, while at the same time their indefinite reflection of each other pushes impossibly beyond the surface. This pulsing between the defined and infinite, between the crude and lavish, were meditations on the power of the mind and how the perception of the world acts like a compass for possibility. I wondered from which vantage points the room might be experienced. Where would people stand and what path would they take once they entered?
From my experience of working largely in public space, the existing architecture prefaced considerations such as scale, composition, and concept. In Without Action Fractured Faces I was given a measure of control over elements such as the sink and toilet, the mirrors, floor, and lighting while still beholden to the overall architecture and contour, the skylight, and the dimensions. I felt the need to absorb the energy of the space and respond to it, akin to the adage that a sculpture carved from marble is revealed.
My movements and perception of the room influenced fluid gestures that flash between abstraction and emerging familiarity. They seemed to seep totems as they emerged from the haze through the thin application of aerosol and HVLP spray gun application. Grounded in fragments of my own personal histories, moments of tangible artifacts and memory interweave with movement and abstraction. Like fluid apparitions, the integrated forms materialize incompletely. These forms were based on different states of being, of struggle and triumph, despair, and resolve.
Calm eyes, clenched fists, sagging figures, sporadic movement, and an ominous jaw are followed by rising plant leaves as one approaches the door. Influenced by closed-eye hallucinations, the immersive hues reference internal vision, while sound connects us to the outside, fleeting world.
-Reinhart Revilla Selvik
About Reinhart Revilla Selvik
Reinhart Selvik (B. Long Beach, CA, 1987) received a BA in Studio Arts and a BA in Communication from the University of California, San Diego (2013) and an MFA in Art from the University of California, Irvine (2017). He was the recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Art Award in 2013. Reinhart works primarily in painting and sculpture, exploring the relationship of the passage of time to the flow of the population of people, along with the lived stories and experiences that form unique individual perspectives. Informed by the subtle erosion of pedestrian environments and the traces that are left behind, his work seeks connection between the past and present through memory and architecture. He has exhibited recently at Floating Gallery, Los Angeles (2023), Phase Gallery, Los Angeles (2022), San Diego Art Institute (2021), Eastside International Gallery, Los Angeles (2019), Mesa College Art Gallery (2019), Actual Size, Los Angeles (2017), CAC Gallery, Irvine (2017), and Long Beach Community College (2017). He has painted murals and graffiti art in Canada, Mexico, United States, and Europe over the last 20 years. Most recently, Reinhart was featured in, curated, and coordinated Periphery, a large-scale series of murals as part of the Pepper Canyon Amphitheater Project, UC San Diego (2023) and completed Without Action Fractured Faces (2023) in La Jolla California.