Marcus Reichert is an artist whose vision has never been deterred by social standards. Reichert started painting seriously at age 10, influenced by the work of Eduard von Gebhardt (1838-1925) – a German painter who preferred painting patients in local insane asylums. When Marcus wasn’t redefining von Gebhardt’s paintings in his family’s basement, he was out in the woods reading about Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). From these two artists, Marcus formed the conclusion that, “… to be a painter one had to go beyond what was considered rational. One had to be oblivious to the distractions that others found meaningful” (Art Without Art, 13).
Reichert was born in 1948 in Bayshore, Long Island, grew up in rural Pennsylvania, and spent summers with his grandmother in Levittown, New Jersey. In the early 1960s, Reichert toured Paris and the south of France, where he currently resides and works. During the Vietnam War, Reichert attended the Rhode Island School of Design in the Independent Study program.He had grown up painting in the period during abstract expressionism, but was seeking something more literal.
There seemed to be an element of truthfulness in the obscurity of paintings by artists such as Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon, and Marcus embarked to find his own path in this trajectory of contemporary painting. Working out of New York and Bridgehampton in the 1970s, Reichert lived among painters Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers, and Jack Youngerman. According to Reichert, “My determination was to take gestural painting into a new area of figuration which would be both spiritual and poetic, and without social or political connotations.”
Reichert exhibited his paintings for the first time when he was twenty-one at the Gotham Book Mart and Art Gallery in New York (1970). Since then, he has had several museum and gallery exhibitions in the United States and Europe. In that time, Reichert has also published three novels and created the film, Union City, which premiered at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival and is now held in the archive of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Although he has also worked extensively in poetry, prose, and photography, he considers himself primarily a painter.
Our exhibition, Irrational Painting, is an introduction of Reichert’s work to Boston. We hand-selected the works from the artist’s studio in the south of France, where he has lived for the past eight years. The paintings have all been completed within the past eleven years. This group of paintings exemplifies the artist’s variety of subject matter and encompasses his painterly and unorthodox technique.