October 5 - 28, 2023
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 5, 5:30-7:30 PM
Dolby Chadwick Gallery is pleased to present About Time, an exhibition of recent paintings by Guy Diehl.
Diehl’s luminescent still lives are expertly composed and deftly rendered, striking an acute balance between emotion and intellect. His keen eye is evident in his careful arrangement of objects and sensitive handling of light. In creating each work, he observes the interactions between objects in the lucid dawn, the bright of day, and the humming glow of dusk. The source of light, for Diehl, is a crucial origin of expression, and its influence allows emotion to inhabit a still arrangement of objects. Their essential spirit presents itself as light, color, and shadow intersect.
Diehl is perhaps best known for his contemplative, Morandi-esque compositions; but his recent Take-Out Only series captures a more casual approach, infusing a tone of levity into his oeuvre as he renders everyday objects with stunning luminosity. For Diehl, the arrangement of a still life relies less on the beauty of each discrete item than the shape they create together. The illuminated fold of a crisp envelope may draw the eye toward the shoulder of a bottle, just as a coffee stirrer and its shadow mirror each other against the soft sheen of a paper bag.
Diehl’s allusions to iconic artists and movements in art history serve as an invitation for the viewer to delve deeper, and to search for the meaning contained in these conversing objects. In Precarious, he depicts vibrant tangerines in a shimmering plastic bag as a glass marble teeters on the edge of the table. The marble is partially masked in shadow, partially emblazoned in reflective light. As Diehl says, a marble seldom stays in one place — it is fated to roll away. In employing this trope, he references the tradition of the Dutch Masters. Just as these artists would compose decadent platters overflowing with fruits precariously placed upon the edge of a table, Diehl’s marble is a coy hint at the brevity of life, and a reminder to appreciate friends, lovers, and family for all can be gone in an instant.
This exhibition brings the emotional element of Diehl’s still-lives to the forefront as he illustrates this preciousness of life and the vital necessity of our closest relationships. In Belonging, a Japanese Shunga woodblock print depicts two figures entwined in an intimate embrace. Three visible sides of a primary colored cube represent a balanced and multifaceted love between partners, while the marble again looms, resting on the edge of the table. In viewing Diehl’s mastery of the still life and immaculate touch of paint, the viewer is struck by the resonance of strength and tenderness, of heart and mind, of shadow and light.
Guy Diehl was born in 1949, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned a BA from California State University Hayward in 1973 and an MA from San Francisco State University in 1976. Diehl has exhibited extensively across the United States and, among his accolades, was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum in 2018. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Cantor Arts Center in Palo Alto, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, and the Oakland Museum of California. This will be his sixth solo exhibition at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery.