Reflecting on Mirrors by Trey Abdella

Brooklyn-based artist Trey Abdella grew up in the ’90s watching cartoons, playing video games, reading comic books, and exploring the internet. Even when his parents would replace these activities with pencils and paper as a punishment, they continued to shape his worldview. Raised in the suburbs of West Virginia, Abdella’s work draws heavily on the mundane yet memorable moments of his childhood. While these coming-of-age stories highlight the harsh realities of human nature, the artist detracts from such revelations by creating a visual playground filled with comedic relief.

Abdella’s fourth solo show, Mirrors, on display at KÖNIG SEOUL last month, looks into “the haunting bits of banality” — nail-biting instances that seem unimportant with reflective qualities that are anything but. Each of the six large-scale acrylic paintings presents a treasure hunt of mixed media, including vinyl, LED lights, fake spiders, an orthodontic tooth model, artificial plants, wigs, and a Magic 8 ball. Experienced uniquely in the flesh, a digital viewing calls for poetic accompaniment to make the psychological horror even more palpable.


It’s the middle of the night, 2:42 am to be exact
Your mind is racing, the road is calling to distract
Driving in the rain, fogging up the windshield
Hoping to clear your head because it’s been filled
With thoughts of darkness scattered in neon light
This is when accidents happen — second-sight
Sharpened senses, a mixed CD cannot silence
The creeping feeling that is right behind us


Never Enough

Crystal clear, fuzzy feeling, wine drunk
One is too many, and a thousand is not enough
Almost empty glasses falling off a silver tray
Ruining the Persian carpet along the way
Bloodcurdling, the host sinks to her knees
In one of her most dramatic scenes
“Out, damned spot!” she cries in pain
On her conscience, forever a stain


Caught in a Lie

“Do you floss?” asks the dentist
“Religiously,” you reply unrepentant
He continues to tinker around in your mouth
Not so toothpaste ad worthy, come to find out
Brushing off your pearly white lie
The whole truth, there’s no need to deny
Is trapped somewhere in a web
Spun by a spider never to ebb
Slick, with greeted teeth and braces
The life of a conman takes no vacation


In the Gutter

Get your mind out of the gutter
Such a dirty place to be
At broken glass, I shudder
It’s the first thing I see

Fading in the background
Two boys at play
Good old-fashioned roughhouse
Is what I say

Toxic masculinity breeding
A bully left unchecked
To continue the beating
Is who we protect


Holding Up the Line

High-pressure thirst trap
Water fountain on tap

First up, good hap
Next one, about to snap
Selfish pride, cling wrap
Stand aside, no lap

Hope springs eternal uncap
Emotions all over the map



Combing through golden locks
When suddenly, the brush stops
Hair-raising suspense, tied up in knots
Bristles as aggravated as you
Trying hard not to rip through
Charm bracelet with a view
Repelled by the horror show
Of ‘Get Ready With Me’ woe
Signed, “The devil you know”


Sometimes the scariest moments in life are the ones hiding in plain sight. They don’t always take the face of a possessed doll or a hungry monster; in fact, they look like you on just another day. You could be going for a drive, having a drink, telling a lie, standing in the backyard, waiting in line, brushing your hair, or even worse, looking in the mirror.