Derek Reist’s treatment of New York light has always been highly individual and, at the same time, evocative of great master luminists of the past: Friedrich, De Chirico, Hopper. Unlike most who portray the urban landscape, Reist shapes for his viewer his own subjective presentation of the mood that underlies each image. He does this through his mastery of dramatic light effects that emphasize introspection without loneliness, surrealism without gimmickry, and sentiment without sentimentality. Always committed to the oil medium, Reist has mastered that technique to achieve extraordinary perceptual depth. He thus draws his viewer into the scene without violating the integrity of the picture plane or invading his viewer’s own space. His pictorial invitation is on an emotional level, while his understanding of architecture is paradoxically detached and geometric, and it is that tension between emotion and observation that gives these images a mystery of their own.
Born December 13, 1944 in Lima, Peru, Derek Reist currently resides in New York. After graduating from Harvard in 1967, he was admitted to Rhode Island School of Design as a teaching assistant. He decided, instead, to go to New York City, where he studied at the Art Students’ League from 1969 to 1973. He had his first of seven one-man shows at Gallery Madison 90 in 1976 and has participated in numerous group exhibitions at venues ranging from the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art and the “Red Windows” exhibition sponsored by Barney’s and Christie’s in 1994.
In addition to private collections, Derek Reist’s paintings are in the collections of Paine Webber, General Mills Corporation, Howrey LLP at Citigroup Center, Cravath Swaine and Moore, Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, Pfizer Corporation, UBS, and the International Peace Academy.
"Three themes underpin my work: the emotional response to a scene where only the view is present; light as mediator between the fleeting and the permanent; and, finally, a representation of reality that plays fact against perception colored by memory." ...Derek Reist