Retrospective 2002  
Notes from the Catalog

Lynn House Gallery  Antioch  CA

The paintings in this show represent 38 years of my life. From a drawing done in high school to my most recent work. It's a rare opportunity for a painter to be able to see, in one place, an overview of the work that has at times consumed and always, by the process, enriched my existence. Although the majority have gone to known and unknown collectors, and I was unable to borrow them all for the show, I feel I was still able to gather a good representation. To see them now is to remember the moments they were created. Many cities, apartments, studios. Where I was and all the things that were going on around me.

My heroes are plentiful. Good heroes are important; Degas, Sisley, Freidrich, Hopper, Monet, Bischoff, Diebenkorn, Chatham, Roerich, Thompson. (Bogart, Bukowski and DeNiro, too.) The list is endless. All have a part but as I look at these walls I really see myself, good or bad.

After a slide lecture at Saint Mary's College, ten years ago, it occurred to me that I had pretty much been doing the same painting my entire life, from different locations. An endless concern with time and light and space. Journal entries really, marking my days, time on the planet. And as I look in mirrors now, only to see this grey bearded person with a finite amount of time ahead...

But the paintings are here.

Each one is a short story, something I saw. Some years I saw many things. Some years there was no time to see anything. When I painted from the summit on Diablo, it was tarantula-mating season. They were everywhere. I painted that one very quickly.

From 1990 to 1991 I spent a lot of my time in Antioch, painting from the parking lot of the Riverview Lodge. Staring at the river. Trying to get it down. I bought so many orders of clam chowder (the best) that, when something sold, I barely broke even.

When I painted Providence, 1971, I had just graduated in sculpture from RISD. The woman I was living with was a painter. Our window, facing west, was pulsating with the sunset. "Hey, can I borrow some paints? And canvas? And your easel?" I looked out the window of our apartment and began painting, not knowing, at the time, that I would never stop. I still have that easel.

Of course, with a retrospective of any length it's easy to get caught up in a sense of arrival, like it all means something. These images are just what one person did for a period of time. The paintings speak to the light on hills and water, trees and houses. This world we live in, at a certain time of day. That's all. With any luck, there will be more.

I want to thank Nancy Roberts, Curator, and the Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch for allowing me the opportunity to be here. It's a lot of paintings. Every time Nancy came by my studio, if only to drop off something, she ended up taking more work. I also want to thank my wife Deborah and our two sons for their constant support. I hope you enjoy the show. Feel free to e-mail me at w.dreher@comcast.net.

Warren Dreher

Concord, California 2002

Curator’s Note:

In The Art Spirit, Robert Henri talks about the “undercurrent,” the reality that lies beneath all surface appearance. It is the sense of connecting with this undercurrent that weaves a thread through Warren Dreher’s work.

Each painting seems to find the pure essence of its subject and express it with crystalline clarity. With his intense color harmonies and almost sculptural brushwork, Warren reveals the rich inner beauty of ordinary places, ordinary moments.

At the core of it all is a serenity, a quietness, a peace. I thank the artist for sharing it with us.

-- Nancy Roberts