Reichman and Beech at Anglim
San Francisco Chronical – April 22, 2006
by Kenneth Baker
Reichman and Beech at Anglim: We have seen little of Bay Area painter Brett Reichrnan’s work in recent years. The complexity and high finish of his pictures at Anglim tell why: He spares no effort to perfect theni. The confessional air, real or feigned, of some pieces also hints at an underlying effort at psychological poise not quantifiable in labor time.
The realism alone of Reichman’s work would not set it apart. It’s content does. Anyone who knows his art will recognize the rainbow palette and jumbled drapery of “Rainbow Play Systems” (2004) and “Holding on to Happiness” (2003)as con- flicting symbols of gay solidarity and an instinct for disguise.
Forms related to the vaguely phallic, loosely stuffed boa of fabric, studded with jester’s bells, in “Rainbow Play Systems’ tum explicit in the sadly funny “Sati Cock” (2005) and “Codpiece” (2005) These ring almost wistfully for the cultur war years when they would have made the family values poobahs see red.
The masks come off in watercolor and gouache self-portraits such as “All Con- suming Identity” (2005),in which the art- ist shows several views of himself appar- ently learning to suppress his gag reflex using a rainbow-colored antique toy.
We seldom see in contemporary painting Reichman’s peculiar mix of confrontation, high craft and emotional ambiguity.