"Theo Radic comes from America, but has been living many years in Sweden. I have experienced him previously as a genuine colorist, and I do so now looking at his work being shown at the newly opened Gallery Baggen. He works with mixed media. Collage plays a big part. The exhibition was conceived as a homage to Byron. One need not be so familiar with his poetry to appreciate Radic's interpretations. They live their own, free, coloristic lives. Here one sees first of all paintings of nearly informal, expressive character, in a class by themselves. Glittering like jewels in the river of color and light, they display a vital artistry."
(Stig Johansson, Svenska Dagbladet, February 24, 1996)
(20-year retrospective show) "Theo Radic and his paint brushes make beautiful music together. "What I'm after is a symphonic use of color, just as a composer uses musical notes to create harmony," Radic says. And so his oils are a serene mix of colors, cool and peaceful examples of abstract expressionism.
Twenty years of studying and working his art have brought Radic to this point of harmony. He is showing his latest work, and the earlier pieces that led up to it, at the San Bernardino City Cultural Center's art gallery. The variety is startling. He includes the pencil drawings done just after his graduation in 1967 from San Bernardino High School (even the yearbook cover he designed in his senior year is part of the show). The chronological progression moves from still lifes and landscapes to experiments in impressionism and cubism, winding up finally with the layers and layers of color in his current work.
Radic says he spent his early years as an artist doing classical studies of the masters - and feeling inadequate. "I was, like everybody, infatuated with the Renaissance masters," he says. "If you're studying the work of Michelangelo and Leonardo, you develop an inferiority complex."
He dealt with it by moving to Europe, where he spent 14 years in France - living near where Van Gogh, Cézanne and Picasso painted - and Sweden, is wife's native home. His resumé shows a long list of one-man and group shows in several Swedish cities, Munich and Paris.
Radic recently returned to Calfornia and is living in Carpinteria, continuing to work full time on his art. He has another show planned in Santa Barbara and is negotiating for a show in San Francisco.
His inferiority complex has diminished. Prices for his work run as high as $8,000. Radic is tall and soft-spoken, his American-born voice now bearing traces of an undefinable accent, a result of many years of speaking French and Swedish. He tends to refer to himself as a stranger in his own homeland.
The cultural center show is especially pleasing, Radic says, because of the proximity of the gallery to his old high school. The show dates coincide with his graduation day, and he points out that he returned in time for his class' 20th reunion.
Although his work is constantly growing, this sense of coming full circle, of settling down, seems a part of his paintings. They are crowded fields of color, layers of curves and lines that speak with subtlety, yet a firm sense of purpose. Some are more sparse, with more space between the colorful forms. These use bolder colors that jolt, yet blend into the mixed background. "What I'm after is movement, but not violent movement, a peaceful sort of movement," Radic says. That does not mean they are without emotion. "Just like a Chopin etude - he can really start pounding those keys, but there still is harmony."
(Betty Shimabukuro, San Bernardino Sun Telegram, June 6, 1987, San Bernardino, California)