Currently on view at Regen Projects in Los Angeles, painter Daniel Richter has brought forth a selection of new works, continuing recent explorations in methodology the artist first began experimenting with in 2015. One of the most influential painters of his generation, Richter’s work continues the lineage of post-war German painting that includes artists such as Werner Büttner, Martin Kippenberger, and Albert Oehlen. Mixing together disparate threads of figurative painting and abstraction, his pieces twist pop culture, media images and other bits of communicative detritus through a shared space, resulting in swirling compositions that implies an ever-open eye on the world around him.
Abandoning a preconceived narrative structure, the works on view in his current show seem to prioritize the possibilities of the painted canvas and the paint that covers it with a mixture of improvisational and predictive capacities. Richter’s large-scale compositions are achieved through the use of various techniques of paint application, using a range of subject matter and then turning towards the deliberate construction of the scene. Subtle gradations of color provide the background onto which oil-stick outlined spectral silhouettes are rendered in thick swathes of color, as if applied directly from the tube. The figures themselves imply something of the human form, but its actual connection to the body frequently seems to falter and disintegrate, backs and legs gradually decaying into serpentine lines and flits across the canvas, while elsewhere the paint pools and washes into clear human elements, a sort ghostly remainder that seems to hint at a moment of intense passion and desire.
Embodying a violent tension and featuring bold colors, the canvases combine abstract elements with propulsive figuration. His characters and forms are charged with a thick, twisting energy, counterpointed by the vivid contrasts in color and line that seem to propel the viewer not only across each canvas, but across the walls themselves, the energy carrying from one work to the next. The artist almost takes the canvas as a scene and object simultaneously, a fragment that allows repeated investigations and variations on space and action that pulls the viewer through the image and leaves them at the end of the show seeking a return through its supercharged landscape of distended, deconstructed forms.
The show closes August 17th.
— C. Rheinhart
Daniel Richter at Regen Projects [Exhibition]