Erik Reel

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Erik Reel
Gary Robert Meriweather Erik Reel

(1952-12-16) December 16, 1952 (age 71)
Seattle, Washington State
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Mathematics
  • Sumi-e ink painting
Alma mater
  • Whitman College
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Washington
  • Painter
  • Writer
Years active1978-present
Known forKnown for his improvisational, abstract painting with strong connections to the Northwest School of art
Spouse(s)Rhonda P. Hill

Gary Robert Meriweather Erik Reel (born December 16, 1952 - ), known as Erik ReeL, is an American painter and writer known for his improvisational, abstract painting with strong connections to the Northwest School of art, particularly Mark Tobey and George Tsutakawa. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Initially writing art criticism for art magazines such as Vanguard, High Performance, and ArtExpress under the name Gary Reel, he later dropped his given first name and uses Erik ReeL [with a capital L] when exhibiting his visual art and for all writing on art and theatre after 1997.

Early years and education

Erik Reel was born in Seattle to an aeronautics engineer and a mother trained in perceptual psychology. He attended Whitman College, majoring in Mathematics, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington, in art, including a study of sumi-e ink painting with George Tsutakawa. [4] [5] [6] Upon graduating, ReeL taught color theory for 11 years. [1]

Starting in 1978, in Seattle, Reel wrote a weekly column on the arts and art reviews for the Bellevue Journal-American daily newspaper and wrote regularly for art magazines such as ArtExpress, High Performance, and Vanguard.

Visual art

Reel’s mature painting is improvisational, abstract, and layered, with a tendency to blur the distinction between drawing and painting. [7] [3] [8] Reel alternated between figurative and abstract styles for much of his career before eliminating references to external reality altogether in 2009.[3] This move has been interpreted as part of an ongoing critique of materialism with a certain ecological perspective.[3] [9] Hudak quotes Reel: ‘A lot of art reinforces materialism, but I’ve wanted to point to consciousness itself.” [1]

Arconi and others stress the role of cognitive psychology and mark-making in Reel’s work: “For ReeL, marking is a defining characteristic of the human and the primordial act of signification and meaning for human consciousness.” [10]

The art critic, Jae Carlsson, has suggested Reel’s painting points more toward processes in the physical world on either large [cosmological] or extremely small [sub-atomic] scales that cannot be seen directly by the human eye, a position also mentioned in a documentary film shot in 2014.[11] [12]

Reel had his first museum solo exhibition at the Morris Graves Museum of Art in 2016 following an exhibition that included a room of ReeL’s art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara in 2015. [13] [14]

Personal life

Reel resides with his wife, Rhonda P. Hill in Portland, Oregon. [6]

In the media



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hudak, Tracy (4 April 2013). "A Painter With a View". VC Reporter: 18. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  2. Olive, Ashley (21 October 2008). "Erik ReeL at Frameworks". Santa Barbara Independent.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Santini, Enrico (2008). Erik ReeL: Paintings and Drawings. Barcelona: Centaur Editore.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Westbrook, Leslie (October 2017). "Welcome To Planet ReeL". Ventana. volumne 11 Number 8: 17–20. {{cite journal}}: |volume= has extra text (help)
  5. "Artslant". Retrieved 18 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. 6.0 6.1 "CV". Retrieved 18 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. Quantum Dynamics of Painting (Exhibition catalog). University of California Santa Barbara. 2007.
  8. Erik ReeL: Face to Face (Exhibition catalog). New World. 2008.
  9. "Erik ReeL". askART. Retrieved 18 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. Arconi, Nikki (2016). Erik ReeL Painting: 1250-1456 (Exhibition catalog). Centaur Editore. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  11. Carlsson, Jae (2013). Erik ReeL: Tabula Rasa (Exhibition catalog). Centaur Editore.
  12. Riehl, Sean (2014). "Visual Language of Erik ReeL". video documentary.
  13. Erik ReeL: Full Circle (Exhibition catalog). Morris Graves Museum of Art. 2016.
  14. Vonk, Nathan (3 February 2015). "Out of the Great Wide Open at MCS". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 18 May 2020.

External links

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