Brooklyn-based visual artist Miguel Angel Reyes composes compelling, realistic forms rendered in intense color. His small yet evocative oil paintings range from simple, solitary objects set against a single plane of color to complex, multi-subject compositions with distant landscapes in the background. Informed by the pulsing shades and post-impressionist compositions of the 19th century academy, Reyes emphasizes color over line, blending the formal richness of artists like Sargent and Sorolla with nuanced palettes reminiscent of Cezanne and Van Gogh. Precisely rendered yet fresh and distinctive, his work stands out in its careful use of color to evoke lifelike form and dimension.
Born in Mexico City, Reyes moved to Guanajuato State at age seven, where he first encountered the wild nature and the vast, sunlit corn fields that would later inform his artwork. At nine, he returned to Ixtacala, a small suburb of Mexico City, and grew up sketching the nearby river and local cow pastures. As a teenager, Reyes perfected his sketching by copying books and magazines with images of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s nudes, Rembrandt's animals, and Corot's landscapes. He first discovered the work of Jose Maria Velasco in the National Art Museum of Mexico City, and later fell in love with the human figures of Antonio Fabres, as well as the work of Savlador Dali and el Greco, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Polanco.
In 2001, Reyes earned a B.A. in Visual Arts from the Facultad de Arte y Diseño (formerly Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas), where he learned to work with egg tempera, watercolor, pastel, oil, and mixed media before deciding to focus on oil painting. After college, he developed a close relationship with renowned Mexican painter Francisco Castro Leñero, who helped hone his capacity for abstraction through landscape compositions. Reyes next traveled to France, where he fell in love with conceptual art; He held his first solo show at a Lille gallery in 2004. Post-France, Reyes experimented with various media, including photocopies, pen-and-ink sketching, digital photography, book-making, and printmaking, before resettling in New York City to study 19th-century academic painting, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist art under Mary Beth Mackenzie, Max Ginsburg, and Henry Finkelstein at the Art Students League. There, he shifted focus and began painting the vibrant, small-scale still life images that became his signature style.
Reyes’ work has been featured in a range of exhibitions around the world, including La Bodega Gallery and the Gowanus Opening Studio in Brooklyn, Espacio 120 in Barcelona, Galería NM Contemporáneo in Morelos, México, and the Corredor Cultural Colonia Roma in Mexico City, among others. His work is known for its uniquely layered brushstrokes and radiant, nature-inspired hues.