In Don Reich's painting "Disutopians," a varicolored female figure floats over a seated figure. In place of the floating woman's head is a house, symbolizing, perhaps, the human psyche, whose many rooms correspond to the facets of the mind. Below the woman a table is set with a knife and an open tin of sardines that turns into a boat. Enigmatic figures sit at the table, while above the suspended woman a black horse (the animal in us?) races by under a trestle-like bridge.
"Disutopians" is one of several fascinating works by Reich at b. sakata garo, in which the artist gives free range to his imagination, allowing intense symbolic images to emerge and take on a life of their own. The show is accompanied by a small book of poems by Reich that have the same fresh, original spirit as his paintings. One of them, titled "Artist," seems to sum up his working approach:
Sometimes my feet just walk beneath melike a dog on their ownI don't need to be alonganymore when I walkI am somewhere in a paintingin a painting somewhere-- you knowwalkingsome lonely kind of line.
| Don Reich and |
At the b. sakata garo, 923 20th St. Noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through February. (916) 447-4276.
One would imagine that Reich's existence is a lonely one, for his work reveals a sensibility that is cut loose from conventional reality and common concerns. Since the late '50s, Reich has gone his own way, eschewing trends and movements to create his own fresh imagery. In "Attic of Dreams," he gives us a whimsical revery filled with images of things he has collected over
the years in a strange indoor-outdoor scene. In it, a boy in a bathing suit does a back flip in the upper left part of the painting, and a small bathing beauty perches on the arm of a chair. The finds from a thrift store -- a piggy bank, a rabbit figurine, a bizarre floor lamp -- are lovingly rendered in the magical light of a moon floating overhead. It's a charming, enchanted scene.
Sharing the space at b. sakata garo are a series of paintings and drawings by Bay Area artist Judith Foosaner, who teaches at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Her cool, recessive, black-and-white works have a sophisticated graphic energy. A pair of paintings in horizontal and vertical formats depict twig- and branchlike forms cut up and collaged together.
Foosaner also shows a series of small drawings titled "Midnight Folly," which seem to be witty riffs on the figure, and a painting, "About Time," in which an elegant, abstract handwriting enlivens a luminous green-white canvas.