Reichek Retrospective

 

The work of Jesse Reichek reflects a unique synthesis of painting and spirituality, including nearly 3000 works produced on a daily basis throughout the second half of the twentieth century.  

For more than half a century these paintings seek to express the structure of process, the process of creation, and the creation of relationship. In these paintings, symbol, image and perspective are banished. Reichek examines the structure in the incidents of experience and the totality of experience itself. Each painting is afocal, a sacred moment of creation for the viewer. The viewer becomes a partner in creation, generating sudden and unanticipated meanings. 

In the history of modern art, Reichek offers a unique and extraordinary accomplishment. 

The persuasion and manipulation of the Western tradition are replaced by a democracy of spirit revealed through paint. The paintings offer questions for which no answer exists. Contained within the abstract of each series of paintings are common and recognizable threads that connect the painter to the paintings, the paintings to the viewer, and the viewer to the transcendent spiritual themes that motivated the painter. The paintings offer reflections and meditations on the I Ching, the Kabalah, the Song of Songs, and the world’s great myths of creation, mortality, immortality, and death. 

From 1951 to 1972 his works were exhibited and collected by prominent galleries and museums around the world. From 1969 to 1971, at the invitation of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the IBM Corporation. As Artist in Residence for IBM, Reichek participated in the Art and Technology Program, which included such artists as Sam Francis, Roy Lichtenstein, Claus Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. In this effort Reichek explored the range of connections between his painting and the computer. This pioneering initiative offered early insight into the computer’s role in the ethos of art and technology.   

In 1972 Reichek decided to abandon the commercial exhibition of his work to dedicate himself entirely to painting. This is the first exhibit of his paintings in three decades, and the first comprehensive retrospective. 

During Reichek’s 32 years of teaching at the University of California, Berkeley he inspired thousands of students to seek productive and fulfilling careers. Upon becoming Professor Emeritus from the University of California, Berkeley, former students organized an international celebration of Reichek’s teaching. His teaching, as with his painting, celebrates the dignity of the individual. Former students and colleagues as well as artists, critics, and curators from throughout the United States, and around the world, anticipate attending the Retrospective. 

Reichek was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1916 and educated at the Institute of Design Chicago and the Academy Julian in Paris. He taught at the University of Michigan and Institute of Design. From 1954 to 1986, he was Professor of Design and City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Reichek lived and worked in the countryside outside of Petaluma, California with his wife of 56 years, Laure. Jesse Reichek died on July 18th, 2005.

EXHIBITION: August 27, 2005 - August 13, 2006