This group of oil paintings suggests the landscape and the organic, but is strongly rooted in the abstract and the gesture. The imagery employs a variety of scale and points of view, as if a camera lens is zooming in for detail or panning out for depth. I rebel against the technical constraints of the digital environment (where I live as a graphic designer, relying on grids and linking vector points with a mouse or stylus) and revel in the hands-on accidental strokes and colors that give rise to the next mark on the canvas. The constant manipulation is the same process whether digital or manual. Parts of the composition call out to be changed or adjusted, while others sit properly and perfectly upon first placement. For me, at some moment, similar to cropping a scene on your camera, the whole comes into focus as a finished piece. While making that journey, I constantly look for the play in the history of the layers of lines or marks: residual strokes, smudges, smears, splashes, and erasures that complement the crispness of essential sharp lines and tones. The directive energy of angles and curves in the varying degrees of abstraction refers, perhaps, to the life of plants, the suggestion of movement, the hint of or reference to a recognizable species or place.
Lou Ann Reineke is a painter living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Originally from the Pennsylvania/Washington DC area, she earned a BFA in Illustration from the Philadelphia College of Art. Shortly after graduating, she fell in love with the Wasatch Mountains, the Utah desert air, and the allure of accessibility to hiking, camping, river-running, and cross-country skiing. The dichotomy of growing up in the density and preserved history of the East Coast and transplanting to the expansiveness and relative wilderness of the West is reflected in her work, where she roams between the two worlds of pixels and paints, borrowing freely from each. Having lived in Salt Lake City for over 40 years, she still feels the pull of her East Coast metropolitan roots.
Though retired from print publication design, her lifelong experience as a freelancer and eighteen years as an editorial designer and illustrator at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City still influences her fine art. Reineke’s participation in selected exhibitions include many Utah venues such as the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, The Salt Lake Art Center, Art Access Gallery, Phillips Gallery, Finch Lane Gallery, and Kimball Art Center. She now devotes her time solely to oil painting and can be found most days working in her sunny, airy studio on Princeton.
Reineke credits the start of her passion for painting in oils to workshops she attended, 2002 and 2003, in Helper, Utah, under the tutelage of David Dornan, Paul Davis, and Tony Smith. Dornan, in particular, inspired the development of her process of mark-making, experimentation, and “attacking the surface” of the canvas – mixed with her preference for leaving some areas open and airy while making others dense and opaque. Though her work transitioned to an abstract expressionist and gestural style, she still employs some realism, borrowing elements from the natural world. The happenstance randomness of fallen leaves, close-cropped, becomes a formal study in composition, a snapshot of nature. The intricate petals of a flower become a loose and energetic color sketch. A branch becomes a dense forest of flickering lines.