Born in Bellingham Washington in 1925. Fred Reichman was a respected painter with his own unique vision and inspiring teacher at U.C. Berkeley Extention for over forty years.Curator Robert Flynn Johnson described his paintings as creating a “quiet world where everything is covered with several inches of freshly fallen snow.”They are deceptively unassuming works that expressed the artist’s unending delight in discovering timeless and universal truths in the daily routine of life.His motifs include landscapes, still-lifes and interior scenes, his subject matter: his pets, members of his family, everyday ritual objects such as a favorite teacup, and the creatures both flora and fauna with whom he shared his world for eighty years.His work was exhibited extensively both in the United States and abroad.
Defying easy categorization, the work is neither narrative nor representational in any literal sense and yet communicates to the viewer the artist’s experiences poetically as no descriptive story could. Reichman was both fortunate and wise enough during his long career to recognize that simple pleasures are those things that truly matter in life, and he succeeded in communicating them directly to the viewer through his paintings, which act as visual meditations. Reichman deliberately kept his composition as rigorously a simple as his subject matter. He pushed this to such an extreme that it became a delightful game for both the artist and viewer.This economy of line and form could be likened to a kind of visual Haiku poem that implies action by what is missing.A work entitled Startled Deer, for example presented an overturned wheelbarrow leading the eye to the freshly broken fence picket left as the creature fled the scene.
What initially attracts the viewer however, are the soft variegated hues that dapple the surface of the canvas and the shimmer of a prismatic corona that emanates from the contours of each form.Reichman reminds us that everything in its way is alive and is connected within a universal web of being. The essential message of Reichman’s work is that revelation surrounds every moment of our lives.Our challenge is to sharpen our sensibilities and take time to recognize the extraordinary in our everyday existence.
This exhibition will cover works from 1960 to 2001 after which he became too ill to work.