TONY DE LOS REYES (b. 1960)
The Pequod 2008 43 1/2 x 73 in. each red bister on paper
DescriptionTony de los Reyes’ 2006-2011 series Chasing Moby Dick analyzes the intersection of politics and culture through the lens of Herman Melville’s masterpiece (1851). Much like Captain Ahab’s hunt for Moby Dick, de los Reyes invasions America as “highly contentious and monomaniacal,” especially in light of former President George Bush’s singular hunt for Osama bin Laden. According to de los Reyes, "Melville knew that America, being ever-hungry, would not/could not stop at the ocean's edge. Part of the American spirit is to continue expanding, even to our detriment."
This painting is named after the fictitious whaling ship, imagined by Melville, that Captain Ahab commands and leads on a three-year expedition while chasing Moby Dick. de los Reyes’ method creates a delicate balance between abstraction and realism that makes the ship appear almost ghostly. This quality may be a physical manifestation of the monomaniacal intention of Captain Ahab, and thus America, that cannot end, even after its own destruction.