menu David Rich : painter
oil/canvas, 64" x 58", 2005

These paintings are rooted in the physicality and open intervals of urban landscape and the disjunctive spaces of everyday life. They become hybrid places, evoking both the external world of the street and an intimate sense of lived experience.

Densely layered and decisively edited, the resulting compositions feel solid and rooted, yet open and breathing. Shapes group together and lock in, setting up a spatial structure that shifts, as implied connections and ghost images assert an alternate read.

Configurations and intervals are stepped apart, incorporating a sense of discontinuity or disruption in which surprising pockets of space open up. These seemingly contradictory reads engage viewers in negotiating challenging spaces, which do resolve, the way polyrhythms can resolve in music.

These paintings reflect a particular idea about improvisation, focusing not on elaboration or virtuosity, but rather on the elemental way that parts refer back to the underlying visual statement, allowing resultants to emerge organically. This also sometimes happens in music, when two parts interact to set up a resultant third voice.

The work involves an organic sense of structure, related to embodied experience as well as to architecture. The process involves direct painting, establishing the ‘neural pathways’ of the painting with a pronounced sense of fluidity and interdependence. I’m working for an economy of means in which everything is necessary and nothing is extra. This visual engagement is demanding in terms of the time required to make the paintings, and something of this concentration is required of the viewer as well.

This is an impure and vernacular approach to abstraction, evoking and provoking charged spaces for looking at and into, as challenging and resonant places for thought. This social aspect of painting is communicative, and has to be achieved one work at a time. The potential for painting to touch experiential nerves in this way is not a given, but it is possible, and is what I’m working for.