Still life, tradition, art history, and masterful skill are beautifully orchestrated in the acrylic paintings of Guy Diehl.
For over 30 years, painter Guy Diehl has not only perfected his pictorial illusionism, he has intimately explored the ways in which still life can be employed to make art about art, allowing his viewers to both see and appreciate tradition in new and exciting ways.

Guy Diehl, “Still Life with Modigliani #11,” 2015, acrylic on canvas, 22 x 30 in.
(c) Dolby Chadwick Gallery 2015

Opening on November 5 at Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco is a solo exhibition of Diehl’s newest works, which showcase the artist’s recent exploration with natural lighting rather than the artificial illumination he was accustomed to. The resulting paintings, some 16 in the exhibition, are absolutely riveting in their simplicity and their extraordinary clarity and accuracy. What is more, the nod to — and dialogue with – the art historical canon adds a rich layer of reflexivity, contemplation, and narrative to the pictures that will undoubtedly leave viewers wanting more.

Guy Diehl, “Still Life with Kandinsky,” 2010, acrylic on canvas, 32 x 36 in.
(c) Dolby Chadwick Gallery 2015

The gallery reports, “As Diehl’s work has long set itself in immediate dialogue with art history – each painting creates a reflexive narrative around a specific artist, such as Richard Diebenkorn, Amedeo Modigliani, Egon Schiele, and Francisco De Zurbaran, among others – a return to the most basic form of illumination, one that is elemental to painting, therefore brings his entire process full circle.”

Guy Diehl, “Still Life with Matisse,” 2015, acrylic on canvas, 22 x 30 in.
(c) Dolby Chadwick Gallery 2015

“Still Life with Modigliani #11” is only one of the numerous masterpieces in the exhibition. Among a muted, blank, light brown background, we find a simple arrangement of objects along with a postcard displaying Modigliani’s famous “Caryatid.” From the left, a natural light source floods the scene, illuminating each object sharply. The lighting itself recalls the dramatic compositions of Baroque painters. The objects — a tall glass bottle, a sphere, stick, box, and inkwell — lean against the background, but equally leap from the surface through their illumination. Perhaps recalling Modigliani’s cubist or modernist sympathies, each object has a simplicity of form, nearly geometric.
“Guy Diegl: A Dialogue with Tradition II” opens on November 5 and will hang through December 5.
To learn more, visit Dolby Chadwick Gallery.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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