Rick Arnitz + John Ferrell
January 20–February 12, 2023
Artists' reception: Friday, January 27, 5–7pm
Gallery Guide / Price List
Photo Album on Flickr
Rick Arnitz (1949–2018) was a painter known for his semi-abstract style and remembered for his tool of choice: paint rollers, not brushes. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Arnitz hitchhiked to California at 19, fell in love with the West Coast, and never looked back. He earned his B.A., M.A., and M.F.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Arnitz was widely exhibited in the San Francisco Bay Area beginning in 1975, including a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1989. Arnitz’s work is in numerous private and public collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Jose Museum of Art, Berkeley Art Museum, Oakland Museum of California, and Crocker Art Museum.
Arnitz continued his creative work up until his death in 2018. In his final year, he was unable to work in the studio, so he returned to his roots as a cartoonist. Even on his worst days using the Notes App on his phone and drawing with his finger, he continued to inspire and make people laugh with insightful and provocative cartoons posted to Instagram.
Statement (provided by Mia Chambers, Arnitz’s widow)
Rick limited his process to working with oil and alkyd enamel (oil-based house paint) and paint rollers. The paint roller defines the image making. The tool can make a wide range of repetitive, imperfect, and sometimes unanticipated marks. The artist’s hand is enhanced but circumscribed by the “rules” set by the rollers.
The painting content ranges from a mix of Pop and Abstract Expressionism with a measure of socio-political comment and a wry sense of humor.
Rick Arnitz and I first met at the Department of Art at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1973 and stayed in contact. In spring 1986, Rick and I were having lunch at his studio in Oakland. He was telling me of his frustrations with rejections he had been getting from art galleries at the time. I responded, “Things will get better.” He threw a piece of chicken at me and told me to "F--- off." Soon I informed Rick of a new gallery in Chico and how it might be possible to have a two-person exhibit there. He agreed! In fall 1986, we exhibited First Aid at 1078 Gallery at its newest location at 738 W. 5th Street.
In 2016 Rick and I were tossing around the idea for a reunion exhibit at 1078 Gallery at its entirely different location. Rick regrettably passed in 2018. At his memorial, Rick's widow, Mia Chambers, and mutual friends of ours talked about possible future exhibits for Arnitz’s work. Last year Mia and I proposed Rick Arnitz + John Ferrell to 1078. This exhibit reflects the shared interest of two abstract painters who again have the honor to present their work together at 1078 Gallery.
The Grille Series shows my continued interest in painting on recycled, hollow-core doors. By layering different types of mark-making on the doors, I explore sacred geometry, ambiguous patterns, and whimsical imagery.