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Lucas Reiner

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Lucas Reiner
Born (1960-08-17) August 17, 1960 (age 59)
EducationParsons School of Design; Otis College of Art and Design; Parsons School of Design Paris; Fine Art
Known forPainter, printmaker, photographer, filmmaker
Spouse(s)Maud Winchester
AwardsLester Horten Award for Scenic Design

Lucas Joseph Reiner (born August 17, 1960) is an American painter, print maker, and photographer. He is married to Maud Winchester and works between Los Angeles and Berlin.

Early life and education

The third child of Estelle and Carl Reiner, Lucas Reiner was born and grew up in Los Angeles. Raised in a family of creatives, his paternal grandfather designed a precious timepiece for Emperor Franz Joseph before immigrating from Czernowitz to New York City.[1] Between 1978 and 1986, Reiner studied fine art at Parsons School of Design, Otis Art Institute and Parsons School of Design Paris.[2]

Exhibition history

Since 1985, Reiner has exhibited internationally in Los Angeles, Milan, Munich, New York City, Regensberg, Rome and Schwarzenbruck. He has had solo exhibitions with Bennett Roberts, Los Angeles, CA (1995);[3] Tricia Collins Grand Salon (1996);[4] Griffin Contemporary (1998), Tricia Collins Contemporary Art, New York, NY (1999); Pocket Utopia, Brooklyn, NY (2007); Roberts & Tilton (2003)[5] Carl Berg Gallery, Los Angeles (2005); Pocket Utopia, Brooklyn, NY (2007);[6] Galerie Biedermann (2008, 2012, 2017), and [ Galleria Traghetto] (2010).

Additionally, his work has been included in numerous group shows, including “Left Coast. Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art” at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art(2014), “Drawn” at Galerie Nordenhake Berlin (2014), Ace Gallery Beverly Hills (2013), “Landscape and Architecture” at Irvine Fine Arts Center (2012) and “Speak for the Trees” at Friesen Gallery in Seattle and Sun Valley.

In 2009, Prestel Publishing published ‘’Lucas Reiner: Los Angeles Trees, 2001-2008: Paintings, Drawings, Filmstills’’ by Petra Giloy-Hirtz, with an essay by Fred Dewey. In this book, Dewey compares Reiner’s process to the “old monk poet Basho, who, it was said, would go into the mountains to pay tribute to specific trees,” though of course Reiner typically approaches trees via car.[7] "Cut for instrumental reasons according to non-arboreal, non-natural intent, the trees nonetheless retain their nature, responding to heat, light, and soil, but most of all the ferocious Department of Transportation."[8] "The result is quiet, calling for contemplation, and, in a final move, hints at the story and mystery behind the shape."[7]


Color Field Paintings

"Beginning with minimalist canvases, Reiner moved into painting signs and word fragments in the urban landscape, influenced by the work of LA artists Ruscha, Diebenkorn, Celmins..."[7] Although Reiner's abstract paintings have also been compared to those by Mark Rothko and Cy Twombly, critics have been quick to note that his “color field” paintings capably distill quotidian experiences into particular palettes. Toby Crockett observed how "Reiner's controlled approach creates a template by which the world can be reduced to its juicy details [and] is filled with genuine feeling."[9]

City Tree Paintings

After spending time in the Michigan forests in 2001, Reiner started to focus on the trees in his Los Angeles environment.[1] Responding to the way urban trees are routinely brutalized by trucks, sidewalks, and neglectful passersby, Reiner started creating little tree portraits. Fred Dewey wonders why it took contemporary artists so long to address suffering city trees, since Frederick Law Olmsted noticed the savage cutting of trees around 1870.[7]

Eve Wood noted that "these dense little paintings are more than quaint depictions of [city] trees, but encapsulate both their stature and movement, as well as a kind of ineffable presence."[10] From observing Reiner's tree paintings, whose titles reflect their particular locations, Petra Giloy-Hirtz discovers that Los Angeles trees are “crooked, mistreated, strangely trimmed, pruned into shapes by the traffic, grazed by the truck, cut back to cut the view of the billboards, [and even] alienated by signs, Christmas decorations, or graffiti.”[1]

Responding to Reiner's tree paintings, Nicholas Grider observes how “specific individual trees…float against delicately-colored abstract expressionist backgrounds that recall Phillip Guston’s early work. The tension between specificity and the general nature of the gestural backgrounds deliberately leads the viewer to think not just about trees as portrait subjects, but about what his or her own relationship with trees is in daily life.” [11] Petra Giloy-Hirtz adds, "For in the end the tree is not an unusual theme in the history of art. It is less about the phenomenology of the tree than about the possibilities of painting."[1] Regarding Reiner's relationship to his subject matter, Dewey adds that "The links of Reiner's work to those of painter Giorgio Morandi are clear. Morandi did painting after painting of bottles and landscape...pushing a commitment to representation of the world to the limit;"[7]

  • Spirit of '76 (1990)
  • Gold Cup (2000)
  • Trees in Los Angeles (2005)


In addition to having taught at Art Division (2011) and at Otis College of Art and Design (2007), Reiner has been a visiting artist at numerous institutions, including the American Academy in Rome, California State University, Northridge, Oberlin College, Myers School of Art, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, and Università Iuav di Venezia.[12][better source needed]


Reiner's work is owned by the American Embassy in Riga, Latvia; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Colección Jumex, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, Diocesan Museum Domberg Museum Freising, West Collection.[citation needed]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Petra Giloy-Hirtz. “Lucas Reiner’s Los Angeles Trees.” Los Angeles Trees, 2001-2008. Munich. Prestel. 2008.
  3. Toby Crockett.”Lucas Reiner at Bennett Roberts.” ‘’Art in America’’. May 1996.
  4. Steve Mumford. “Lucas Reiner.” ‘’Zing’’ magazine. Winter/Spring 1997.
  5. "reviews". Lucas Reiner. Archived from the original on 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2018-09-26.
  6. -lucas-reiner.html.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Fred Dewey. “If We are Lucky.” Los Angeles Trees, 2001-2008. Munich. Prestel. 2008.
  8. Fred Dewey. Trees and Words. Venice. Beyond Baroque. 2004.
  9. Toby Crockett. "Lucas Reiner at Bennett Roberts.Art in America. May 1996.
  10. Eve Wood. "Implied Narratives." Artnet. January 27, 2003.
  11. Nicholas Grider. “Minimalism, Theatricality, and You.” ‘’Artslant.’’ September 9, 2007.
  12. "LUCAS REINER - resume". Archived from the original on 2017-06-15. Retrieved 2017-05-15.


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