Renée Radell is a consummate colorist and figurative painter whose career spans more than 70 years. She entered the art world in the State of Michigan as an award winning watercolorist who moved to oil painting during her studies at the Detroit Society of Arts & Crafts, now the College for Creative Studies.
In the mid-1960s Radell emerged in the mainstream gallery scene of New York as a pioneering woman social commentary painter, inciting critical acclaim at home and in Europe. Her sociopolitical suggestions, deftly stated with signature brushstrokes and visceral impact, struck a chord among the intellectual avant-garde during a time of turbulent change, even when Pop and Minimalism were new darlings in the art world.
Sometimes satirical, sometimes humorous, often tragic, yet always intellectually piercing, Radell’s pictures convey an acute social consciousness and compassion, incorporating images of life’s journey, hope and hopelessness, conflict and regeneration on her chosen stage. They demonstrate remarkable vitality and are increasingly germane to today’s society.
In the early 1980s, Radell moved to New York City where she currently maintains a residence. Compared with earlier literal content, her work has become more subjective and allegorical through the use of myth and symbolism to represent the societal enigmas that she observes so keenly.
A figurative painter at core with broad encounters through decades of professorships in Michigan and New York and extensive overseas travels, Radell also applies brush and palette to portraits, landscapes, still life, and non-objective statements, ordaining each picture with its unique persona. A look at the adjoining Survey Of Works will demonstrate her diverse and highly skilled ventures in imagery, materials and personal philosophy.
Renée Radell is represented in numerous personal and institutional art collections in North America and Europe, including the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. She resides in New York and Pennsylvania with Lloyd, husband of 65 years.
The Making of a Morality Play
Over the years, Radell has at times created multipanel and mural scale works that allow her to expand on capacious themes. Raindrops Ceremonial Triptych explores Radell’s ongoing theme of fate and choice. Here, raindrops serve as the metaphor for life’s bounty and potential. Flute playing jesters summon the rain cloud in the left panel. The center panel shows a ritual wherein humans of all ages attempt to capture the falling raindrops, represented as quivering glued-on strings, thereby making the most of what life has to offer. The sky clears in the right panel symbolizing the ephemeral nature of opportunity and the need to act when chance presents itself.