Fred Reichman
"Mouse in Trinity Alps" 1962, oil on linen 30x47"

Fred Reichman

Was born in 1923 in Bellingham, Washington. He attended the University of California in Berkeley and taught at U.C. Berkeley, U.C Davis and the San Francisco Art Institute. Exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in October of 1974. Paul Mills, Director of the Museum writes:

In a half light one can often momentarily mistake the silhouette of a tree stump for a dog, a bush for a person, or many actual objects for an endless number of other fantasized objects. When operating with reduced cues, our eyes play little Rorschach games.

When Reichman’s’ work first became well known in the San Francisco Bay area, the common reaction was a bit like that. It was the era of almost universal abstraction among the progressive painters. Reichman’s work looked like splendid, subtle abstractions somewhat parallel in their shapes to Franz Kline or some phases of Motherwell. The, one would be quite amazed and disconcerted to see that Reichman’s shapes momentarily mistaken for fashionable abstract shapes of the day, were in fact figurative; that they quite clearly depicted a cat washing itself, a tree, a dog running and many other things. This play of figurative and abstract reflected, in Reichman’s own highly individualistic way, one of the overriding concerns of contemporary art of the time.

As time and art have changed, the surprise ambiguity factor in Reichman’s work has become an unimportant part of our reaction, but the combination of abstract concern about color and paint and line and plane continue, as does his depiction of subject.

Bird on Fallen Branches, 1964
oil on linen, 25"x25"
Waiting for Spring
Waiting for Spring, 1969
oil on canvas 48"x19" 

The Blue Dragonfly, 1957
oil on canvas, 16"x14
no longer available