Sunday, 22 March 2009

Guy Diehl

Guy Diehl was born in 1949 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Guy Diehl is a contemporary still life painter whose work mines the history of art and the artists who have shaped it.

Although nominally realist in style, Diehl's paintings, in the words of curator Steven Nash, "operate through a refined set of abstract, formal principles—form against form, light versus dark, color contrasted with gray, black, and white."1 This clarity of purpose is in the tradition of the 17th-century Spanish painters Francisco de Zurbarán and Juan Sánchez Cotán, artists whom Diehl cites as significant influences.

Diehl's compositions range from spare, calculated arrangements to complex orchestrations. His use of chiaroscuro, foreshortening, and naturalism creates a sense of mystery that permeates the paintings. The artist invites a dialogue with the cultural past by asking viewers to contemplate the meaning suggested by the natural and manmade objects and iconic art images assembled in his paintings. This analysis of social and artistic iconography relates to the work of pop art artist Mel Ramos, and the San Francisco-based photo-realist painter Robert Bechtle, with whom Diehl studied in the seventies. Diehl also is a noted printmaker and has worked extensively with Magnolia Editions in Oakland, California.

A longtime resident of the Bay Area, Diehl first began working in the still life tradition while an undergraduate at California State University, Hayward, in the early seventies. After an eight-year hiatus in which he focused on a series of outdoor "pool paintings," he returned to the form in the early eighties and has continued to refine and expand his still life vocabulary and historical reach. Diehl's work is held in the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Oakland Museum of California, among others. His work was included in the 2003–04 traveling exhibition and book, "The Not-So-Still Life: A Century of California Painting and Sculpture," organized by the San Jose Museum of Art. (Hackett-Freedman Gallery)

1. Steven Nash, "Guy Diehl and History," Guy Diehl (San Francisco: Hackett-Freedman Gallery, 1998).

++Hackett-Freedman Gallery
++Guy Diehl

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