brett reichman

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Reichman and Sherwood at Anglim

San Francisco Chronical – August 26, 2010
by  Kenneth Baker

San Francisco painter Brett Reichman’s exhibition at Paule Anglim might both offend and amuse, but the technical brilliance of his work is likely to impress everyone who witnesses it firsthand. Reichman has crafted almost photographically detailed visions, subtly capturing a certain aspect of male sexuality – the larger-than-life sensations specific to phallic excitement. His artwork takes lubricious fantasy to the brink of ridicule, yet retains a psychological truth.

However, he never ventures into showing anything obscene. Instead, his creations often feature hands massaging serpentine bundles of wrinkled fabric, typically under raking colored light that generates a kaleidoscopic interplay of tinted contours. Few contemporary painters can measure up to Salvador Dali (1904-1989) in his prime, but Reichman evokes the spirit of Dali through his use of color and illusion, as well as the shared bawdy humor.

Yet, Reichman’s intentions appear more intricate than merely inventing gay male surrealism. Some might contend that Dali had already made such strides, despite Dali’s own perspective. Reichman’s motifs of self-pleasure may symbolize a strain of self-doubt affecting countless artists, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Reichman has evidently recognized how frequently pre-modern European art employed the draping of luxurious clothing and other fabrics to convey the ineffable and the unpicturable – essentially, the inherent challenge of embodiment – to the susceptible mind. He unveils and reinterprets this tradition, to a certain extent, through distinctly contemporary lenses.

"Pink Thing" (2010), oil and egg tempera on canvas over wood
"Pink Thing" (2010), oil and egg tempera on canvas over wood