Capturing the Moment


Whether pictured at a table, in a chair or, for her most recent series, in a bathtub, the women Patricia Altschul paints are at once vulnerable and strong, which could describe the painter herself.

After a traumatic head injury in 2000, Altschul taught herself to paint again. Her exhibition at Archival Gallery (opening Oct. 4) is a triumphant return to the gallery scene as well as an exploration of a slightly riskier side of her renowned portraiture.

“I try to paint that elusive moment of internal reflection and privacy—those fleeting moments that we all collect that are so transient and sweet but so essentially private,” says Altschul, who earned bachelor’s and master’s of fine arts degrees at UC Davis. “I love Pierre Bonnard’s work. He did a series of his wife bathing, but I realized that it doesn’t need to only be men painting these moments. These paintings still look like my work, but they’ve evolved.” Much like Altschul herself.

After years in recovery, Altschul was approached by D. Neath, owner of Archival Gallery, who encouraged her to exhibit new work for the first time since the injury. Altschul was up for the challenge.

“I’ve shown at every iteration of D.’s galleries over the past 27 years,” Altschul says. “She’s been very supportive, encouraging and understanding about my process.” Altschul’s paintings will be on display at Archival Gallery (3223 Folsom Blvd.) from Oct. 4 through Nov. 3, with an opening reception on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. For more information, visit