Fred Reichman (1925-2005), devoted his life to his art and was a beloved art instructor at UC Berkeley, the San Francisco Art Institute, and with children at the Junior Center of Art and Science in Oakland. He also practiced his own style of Zen, and was a connoisseur of Haiku poetry. In fact, one could say that his paintings and sculptures are visual Haiku poems composed of intimate observations.
The subject matter of Reichman’s artwork, his visual poems, is of everyday objects, family members, his pet cat Issa, and spontaneous encounters with wildlife, that are transformed out of the ordinary. Reichman describes the arrival of an entire season with the image of a single bird perched on a blade of new grass in the painting, ‘Spring Coming is a Meadowlark.’ While at times a painting’s subject matter does not appear directly at all as seen in the painting, ‘Startled Deer,’ depicting a picket on a garden fence broken during the creatures getaway. Additionally, Reichman himself, while not directly, appears as a metaphor as seen in a tabletop covered with paint brushes and glass jars with his easel in the background.
Reichman painted in the unusual medium of Alkyd, an alcohol based resinous compound that dries very quickly. Imagery is built up by countless layers of color, a process that is frequently revealed on one edge of the painting. Each work is quiet and meditative and demands considerable interaction with the viewer before giving up its secrets. The reward ranges from simple delight to a profound sense of wellbeing. They are well worth the effort.
Fred Reichman was born in Bellingham Washington in 1925 and spent the majority of his life in
San Francisco and Inverness California as well as summers at his cabin near Taos New Mexico.
FRED REICHMAN: The Spirit of Everyday Things: Paintings & Bronzes 1960-2003
Exhibition Dates: March 3 – April 18, 2020
Kim Eagles-Smith Gallery
23 Sunnyside Ave
Mill Valley, CA 94941