Reginald Hager

Los Angeles, 1964. Attended Cal Arts Chouinard Art school. Study Art history,

ceramics, drawing, anthropology and design theory avoiding the painting program which seemed to structured and opinionated for me. I therefore painted in my own studio playing with ideas of reduced geometries, wave rhythms and irrational figures in oils or acrylics on canvas and Plexiglas.

My friends and I do the galleries, bars, practice the I-CHING and meet some

Some fine people in the L.A. art community. I develop an interest in astronomy

that borders on the obsessive. A crisis is on the horizon. Where is the spiritual/

emotional content in painting?  I start construction of a telescope and move to San Diego

San Diego, 1967. where I rent a large basement in an old hotel with a huge, dark kitchen perfect for assembling and combining optical elements , cameras and projectors. We make weekly excursions to Mount Palomar observe and photograph the planets and any strange phenomena that catch our attention.

These are then developed and projected in the basement studio

I'm on the lookout for anything through which to pump light; insects, dyes, thin sections of rocks and minerals, discarded plastic consumer wrapping,  photo slides of exotic animals and fruits.

My friends and I gaze as if in a trance while this miasma of imagery layer and shift through the rooms and over the walls like the work of a projectionist showing all of her films simultaneously.

La Jolla, 1968. Organize image and projection systems together with several

colleges  forming the light show company `Mirkwood´ which preformed at

rock concerts in southern California.

Del Mar, CA. 1970. Returning to individual work I attempt, through film, to

combine and resolve the disparate themes that fascinate me: Patterning, growth and variation in form, the immense and impersonal drift of the macro/ micro cosmos with its mortal expression : the 'being-with' .

Where is a personal code to the dance of Shiva ?

This period results in a chimera of short hypnogogic films, mixed media performance pieces and the production of hallucinatory effects for a feature film.

Leucadia, CA. 1976. Make contact with NASA and Land Stat requesting imagery

of planetary surfaces. I'm thinking of the earth as an alien planet with a vulnerable ecology.

The biosphere appears as dense abstraction at this scale. Here I rediscover a sense of content and an opening for painting. Begin a series of canvases inspired by the satellite imagery over the Earth.

These works are interpretations giving free play to painterly solutions while maintaining close attention to boundary and internal proportions. This series named  `Earthscapes´ extends through 1981 to include eight pieces of the Scandinavian peninsula.

Gothenburg, Sweden  1983.  The human drama, pathetic and comic, is constricted

to one on one confrontations. Figures reduced to icons poised in opposition.

The compass arrow swings from the outer to the inner, now pointing at human

dilemma and sordid conflict.

This was the orientation driving a series of figurative paintings extending into the 90s.

Overlapping these concerns and emerging late in the 1980s come `Geologies´, a series of eight or so paintings which I saw as a metaphor of internal layers depict- ing personal faults and stresses.

San Diego, CA. 1991. At this juncture I feel a striving to locate in painting that

which has no likeness: something apparent yet not represented, a quality not

known but immanently human.


The hand painted image, a primitive ritual, a private hallucination made visible:

At once a medium of transcendence and an object to be swallowed as consumer

product. Atomized through print media, painting becomes a mosaic of words and

mantle of explanations like a hot coverage over  the body of art.

On television, automobile sales personnel rhapsodize over the creamy image of a four-wheeled dream capsule as it skids through the showroom window onto the gallery floor as new model of hydrocarbon aesthetics.

Enter the serene white cube of exhibition space sanitized of the threatening fertility of the cave. Here we can view and possess installations with little risk of ourselves being possessed.

It’s a new archeology: The art of the living dead  recycling images and objects as if  in retrograde motion.

Backing into the future looking through the rear-view mirror, painting is propelled by the past into a present, starved of a myth for the future.

My sources are everywhere; leaves rotting and gleaming under the trees, micro-organisms, planetary surfaces and atmospheres. I don’t see much value in terms such as realism or abstraction. I’m attracted more to a direct viewer/object – subject/experience relation.

You don’t need a forest of judgments and descriptions between yourself and contemporary art.