In 1975, “Wickiser discovered a little stream a couple of fields over from his studio called Vredenburg, and he began to make regular trips there to photograph. This was the beginning of his serious interest in reflections in the pools of water. There was a part of the stream with two or three pools in it and he began taking hundreds of photographs of the reflections in those pools. Because the camera could see at high-speed and freeze these moments in time, a whole new world of vision opened up to him. Photographing at four-hundredth of a second allowed him to capture the rapid movement of the water, light, rocks, and the reflections of trees and sky.
These are images that we see as moving video but because they are moving very fast our mind does not still-frame them. The camera allowed him to still-frame nature in all its abstraction and to paint as it actually exists. The photographs were, however, only used as reference because ultimately he would paint the paintings in colors and forms unique to his style. In his choice of subject matter in the pools of the stream, he was particularly interested in and drawn to the ugliness in nature, because as he put it, “That’s where the beauty is.” As time went on, his paintings of the stream became more and more of a synthesis of representation and abstraction.” (Walter Wickiser, Ralph L. Wickiser, The Reflected Stream, The Early Years 1975-1985, Essay by David Adams Cleveland, New York City, 2009)
Beginning in 1985, Wickiser’s paintings of the stream begin to evolve into a purer form of abstraction. This marked a radical departure from the stream as he had painted it from 1975 to 1985. From 1985 until his death in 1998 the stream continued to be a source of inspiration and synthesis of representation and abstraction.
Recently, Wickiser’s work was featured in an exhibition at Leepa Rattner Museum at St. Petersburg College entitled Ralph L. Wickiser: A Retrospective, which was reviewed in the Tampa Bay Times (http://www.tampabay.com/things-to-do/visualarts/discovering-ralph-wickiser-in-exhibition-at-leepa-rattner-museum-of-art/2257982), from November 15, 2015 to February 7, 2016.
Also, his exhibition Ralph L. Wickiser: A Retrospective 1975-1998 at Spagnuolo Art Gallery, Georgetown University, 1221 36th Street NW, Suite 102, Washington D.C. was held from January 20 to April 3, 2016.
In January, The Huffington Post reviewed his works from LA Art Show 2016 as The Best Work from the Show, Undiscovered Genius: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seed/walt-mortons-picks-the-be_b_9127012.html