Gerald Gooch Biography

Gerald Gooch




Printmaker and painter Gerald Gooch was born in Mainington, West Virginia in 1933.  He obtained his B.A. at the California College of Arts and Crafts and his M.A. at San Jose State College.

Gooch developed a style he called "realistic movement," in which a single composition would capture an action, divided into several sequential moments, in nearly hyper-real renderings. The action would be stripped down to its basic elements on the canvas or matrix to portray a full movement. He credits an early, undiagnosed case of severe dyslexia and partial color-blindness to his ability to read a scene in such a graphic way.

This talent led to a commission in 1966 by Time Magazine to capture pro-baseball pitcher Juan Marichal's right-arm pitch, named best of the year by the publication. Following this, commissions came in by the hundreds, and for seven years Gooch continued to create these "realistic movement" pieces for an eager, buying public. His subject matter spanned the controversial to the mundane, and often featured overtones of unexpected humor. However, Gooch soon became disillusioned by this demand. He abandoned two dimensional art, exploring multimedia work, including video, sculpture, woodwork, and more. In 1974 he went on a trip to Baja funded by the San Francisco Museum of Art, traveling with artists Robert Fried, Bill Martin, Richard Lowenburg, Robert Moon, and Gage Taylor. It resulted in an exhibition of 80 multimedia works interpreting the desert landscape, with works made on location and at their studios. He taught at the San Francisco Art Institute for many years.

In the late 1970s, Gooch abruptly interrupted a class he was teaching by leaving the room, saying he would be right back. He did not return. Later, it was discovered that he'd moved to a commune in the Pacific Northwest, retiring from art entirely. 

Exhibited:  California State Fair, 1965; California Palace of Legion of Honor, 1967; Illinois Bicentennial, 1967 (prize); Santa Barbara Museum, 1971; West Coast Painters & Sculptors, 1972. A 1977 short video of Gooch's life and technique can be found here.

Biography partially gathered from interview with the artist,, and Edan Hughes, author of the book "Artists in California, 1786-1940"