November 24, 2013 § 11 Comments
AMAZINGLY ENOUGH, November 19 marked the 19th anniversary of the opening of the Thomas Reynolds Gallery. What was envisioned as a six-week exercise in following your bliss has led to the creation of a wonderful community of artists and collectors over almost two decades.
“No great venture was ever launched on a good night’s sleep,” says the inscription in the first gallery guest book. We must have been giddy from the fervor and the paint fumes. “It’ll never work,” an architect friend had assured us. But something about this little Victorian residential space worked in spite of itself.
Among the opportunities for which we’re most grateful:
• Presenting the first gallery exhibitions of a long list of talented artists, including Francis Livingston, Ken Auster and Veerakeat Tongpaiboon.
• Working with key figures from the Bay Area Figurative Movement now departed, including Theophilus Brown, Paul Wonner and Henry Villierme, who had a late-in-life resurrection of the art career he had put aside 40 years earlier.
• Learning from wise gallery veterans like Charles Campbell, Jan Holloway, Claire Carlevaro, Barbara Janeff and the ever-helpful Mark Hoffman at Maxwell Galleries. And special gratitude for the tutelage and friendship and good ideas of art historian William Whitney.
Thanks for the encouragement and appreciation and support. Mark your calendar: There’ll be a big party this time next year!
October 12, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Francis Livingston (above) on three decades of painting roller coasters and Ferris wheels. Below, a walkthrough with the artist through his Fall 2013 exhibition, “The Color of Light.”
July 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
By JOHN SEED
The Huffington Post
The paintings in Sandy Ostrau’s new exhibition “Improvisations,” on view at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco, always refer to something. One suite of paintings suggests coastal hillsides punctuated by zones of sky, wall and water. Another series begins with images of jazz musicians, and a third is based on figures lounging by swimming pools. In each instance the subject matter is definitely there, transmuted into a painted evocation.
An intuitive artist who loves paint as a substance — and who has a tendency to obliterate her imagery with painterly gestures — Ostrau doesn’t go all the way to abstraction. To do so would remove the emotional connection she wants viewers to have with her source material. “I’m not a fully abstract painter,” she explains: “I want people to feel the landscape.”
June 28, 2013 § Leave a Comment
By PAUL KARLSTROM
About two years ago I fortuitously encountered some of the colorful and lushly painted landscapes of Sandy Ostrau. To a one they had a distinctive sense of their creator’s personal vision and evident grasp of the principles of modernist art. The best examples were the most reductive in composition and details, minimalist works that were as much about the structure as the look of nature. I was greatly attracted to the abstract qualities Ostrau was beginning to explore within the plein air framework.
Building upon that foundation, Ostrau next did a series of landscapes that pushed further to pure abstraction, plein air representation all but abandoned. As the landscape flattens, shapes and color become the subject. Some of the works suggest landscape; in one, for example, a peach-colored sandy beach dominates the composition with its narrow band of dark blue sea in the distance surmounted by a somewhat wider horizontal lighter blue sky — a minimalist composition defined by three horizontal lines.
Now Ostrau has carried her evolving treatment still further, introducing the figure into an otherwise abstract pictorial formulation. The human presence, nestled in Ostrau’s abstract environment, serves to animate the composition. Figuration embraces abstraction in what I can only describe as an authoritative and resolute integration of visual forms, as successful as almost anything I have lately seen. I look forward to the next iteration of Sandy Ostrau’s artistic journey as she moves toward ever greater expressive vigor.
Paul J. Karlstrom was formerly the West Coast Regional Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art. © June 2013 by Paul J. Karlstrom.
REVIEW: “Drawing on a Rich Bay Area Legacy“
June 26, 2013 § Leave a Comment
WHEN HE WAS only 26 years old, in the summer of 1948, Richard Diebenkorn had his first solo museum exhibition at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, located not far from the home where he grew up in the city’s Ingleside district. He went on to an internationally successful career and became perhaps the best known and most respected of all California artists.
Now he comes home. “Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years,” at San Francisco’s de Young Museum, chronicles his work from 1953 through 1966 when he lived in Berkeley and moved from the abstraction of the Berkeley series through his great figurative period. Below, take a video walk through the exhibition with the curators.
Richard Diebenkorn’s Berkeley Years: New Perspectives
September 7, 2013
Portrait of a Friendship: Richard Diebenkorn, David Park
and Bay Area Figurative Art
Painters Looking at Paintings: Henri Matisse, Richard Diebenkorn,
Wayne Thiebaud and Robert Bechtle
Interior Landscapes: Figuration and Abstraction in Post War Photography
Timothy Anglin Burgard
Richard Diebenkorn: Known and Unknown
Richard Diebenkorn Working: Video from Crown Point Press
June 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
FOR MORE than three decades, watercolorist Gary Bukovnik has created a painting every year to announce the new season of the San Francisco Symphony. Here’s a video preview of his latest for 2013-14.
ARCHIVE: San Francisco Symphony posters
June 10, 2013 § 1 Comment
A MESSAGE arrived on the gallery Facebook page:
“My name is Joan Longas and I’m a painter from Barcelona, Spain,” it said. “I just thought of sharing my last painting with you. It’s from my visit to California last summer, and from the pictures I took on June 20 and 21. This is a corner that I particularly like.”
We responded to thank him for sharing the image, which is now a matter of history, since the gallery’s longtime neighbor Johnny Rockets has closed. He wrote back:
“I will miss Johnny Rockets next time I visit San Francisco. The painting I mailed to you before was the third one of that same corner, from three different years. For some reason I loved it from the minute I first saw it. Perhaps the yellowish color of the facade, and the way the building is located that makes no other building show behind.”
He added: “If you take a look at the other two versions you’ll see that they are joyous images, like a crisp early summer morning. That’s the way I feel every time I think of it.”
“But I wanted to try a nocturnal version of it,” he wrote. “Nocturnals in the city always offer a festival of lights and colors. Also there is that compelling suggestion hidden behind windows in the evening.”