Lou Ann Reineke, Branch, 2009. Abstract, Oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches.
Lou Ann Reineke writes of her work: I begin 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. I do 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. I like to think of it as exploring the surface of the canvas, to the exclusion of the subject – a reining in of chaos toward some element of control. The resulting visual dialogue can take you somewhere that you never intended to go. I experiment with alternative solutions in my paintings, juggling the elements similar to the process I use when designing on the computer. I insist that the entire surface of my paintings be interesting both from close-up and from a distance.
Lou Ann (Reineke) Heller paints with oils. She begins with a subject, loosely based on a black and white photo or remnant of landscape sketch. Using an additive process, she says, “color suggests other colors–strokes suggest others strokes. I do a lot or ‘erasure’ as well, swiping the surface with thin glazes: then wiping off color with a sponge, thin cardboard, a rag or my fingers.” Of her work exhibited in 2005 at the Finch Lane Gallery, she adds, “This year, I have concentrated on oil painting–exploring the surface of the canvas, to the exclusion, really, of the subject. It’s not about painting something to look like a real object or place, though there may be a suggestion of an atmosphere, an horizon. My compositions have a kind of linear movement, through shallow planes, breaking through in places. These shallow planes are an innate part of my life-long practice as a graphic designer. I experiment with alternative “solutions” in my paintings, juggling the elements similar to the process I use when designing on the computer. I do a lot of field drawing (pastels) from 8,000 feet, overlooking the Uinta mountain range. I am attracted to that sharpness of line and light at long range, at the furthest point away in the horizon, where the mountains meet the sky. I think I recreate that edge whenever possible. Often, that edge is obscured by clouds or rain, and is only briefly visible. I believe I consider a painting finished when I have found that sharpness. I insist that the entire surface of my paintings be interesting both from close-up or from a distance. I don’t know how to explain this insistence on solid strokes, a certain authority of line and contrast. I like to interrupt the organic textured layers with the occasional sharp geometric line or flat color.” Reineke’s paintings have been exhibited in various venues along the Wasatch Front, including the Gallery at Library Square in the Main Salt Lake City Library (2007 and 2020-21); the Utah Arts Council’s (UAC) Utah 2004: Mixed Media and Works on Paper, the Kimball Art Center, Park City (juried group show) and Recent Paintings, Cup of Joe, SLC (both in 2004); SLC Arts Council’s Juxtapositions: The Artist and The Environment, at the Finch Lane Gallery (invitational group show, 2002) and the UAC’s Utah 2001: Mixed Media and Works on Paper, Bountiful Davis Art Center where she received a Jurors Award; and Art Access Gallery’s 8th Annual Partner’s Exhibit, SLC (both in 2001). Her work was a favored piece in the UAC’s Utah 1998: Mixed Media and Works on Paper exhibit for inclusion in that agency’s statewide Traveling Exhibition Program. She earned a BFA in Illustration from the University of Arts In Philadelphia, PA in 1976, and later studied painting in workshops taught by artists David Dornan, Paul Davis and Tony Smith (2002-2003). Originally from the Pennsylvania/Washington DC area, Reineke moved to Utah in 1977, staying until September, 2020, when she returned to Philadelphia, trading her Salt Lake house for a city apartment, and moving her studio into the the re purposed Reading Railroad building on Spring Garden Street.