Lou Ann Reineke

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lou Ann Reineke uses oil paint to create abstract expressionist pieces. Borrowing elements from the natural world, Lou Ann’s paintings suggest the landscape and the organic, but are still strongly rooted in the abstract and the gesture.

Lou Ann Reineke is a painter originally from the Pennsylvania/Washington DC area who 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 hiking, camping, and cross-country skiing. She stayed 44 years in Salt Lake City, Utah, raising her family and nurturing dual careers in graphic design and fine art – roaming between the two worlds of pixels and paints, borrowing freely from each. She recently returned to live in Philadelphia, and has a studio in Spring Garden.

An expert draftsman at heart, Lou Ann’s passion for the malleability and brilliance of oil paint led to her process of mark-making, experimentation, and “attacking the surface” of the canvas. She began with a few strokes or areas of color, loosely based on a black and white photo or remnant of a landscape sketch or no reference at all. Using an additive process, color suggests colors – strokes suggest strokes. she employs a lot of “erasure” – swiping the surface with thin glazes, then wiping off color with a sponge, edge of cardboard, a rag or my fingers.

Lou Ann likes to think of it as exploring the surface of the canvas, to the exclusion, really, of the subject – a reining in of chaos toward some element of control. She insists that the entire surface be interesting both from close-up and from a distance. Lou Ann likes to interrupt the organic textured layers with the occasional sharp geometric line or flat color. The surprise and delight of those juxtapositions adds to that surface vitality.

Lou Ann is an avid museum visitor – her favorite impressions include: the exquisiteness of 15th-century Flemish painter Hans Memling’s rendering of a jeweled necklace, the delicate transparencies of Cezanne’s water colors, the power of Ab Ex’s Franz Kline’s expressive strokes, the graphic yet painterly landscapes and abstracts of Richard Diebenkorn, the scientific details found in centuries-old botanical illustrations. She listens almost exclusively to baroque and early music.

Vestiges of atmospheric effect pervade many of her abstracted landscapes, remnants of her observations from the panoramic perch at a high-elevation summer cabin she owned in Tollgate Canyon, near Park City, Utah. The field drawings rendered on those weekends focused on that distant vista, that sharpness of line and light at long range, where the sky intersects the mountains, often obscured by clouds or rain and only briefly visible.

To Lou Ann, art should be beautiful and it should move you. A painting’s presence on a wall emits a kind of visual renewable energy source composed of smart, linear movement, flashes of color and contrast, a well-placed dramatic edge or brushstroke. A whisper one moment – a shout the next. This is what she wants to feel when she views other’s artwork and what she seek to create in her own painting.


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