Today we feature the work of our first non-photographer. However, the work of German artist Gerhard Richter is so technically perfect, one could often mistake his paintings for photographs. Richter’s paintings are based on photographs, and the detail is blurred through his painting technique.
The Big Deal:
Using print media and photographs as his source material, he explores the idea of “the image rather than the reference, the visual rather than the statement.” They evoke the idea of memory, where one can struggle to bring details into focus. He has exhibited internationally for nearly five decades, and is one of the most sought-after artists in the world.
Life in Brief:
Born in Dresden, Germany in 1932. Encouraged by his mother to become an artist, trains classically at Dresden Art Academy in Communist East Germany. Flees to West Germany before Berlin wall is erected, and continues studying art, now at Düsseldorf Art Academy. Has first solo exhibition of photo-realist paintings in Düsseldorf in 1963.
“Picturing things, taking a view, is what makes us human; art is making sense and giving shape to that sense. It is like the religious search for God.”
“I like everything that has no style: dictionaries, photographs, nature, myself and my paintings. (Because style is violent, and I am not violent.)”
“I’ve never found anything to be lacking in a blurry canvas. Quite the contrary: you can see many more things in it than in a sharply focused image. A landscape painted with exactness forces you to see a determined number of clearly differentiated trees, while in a blurry canvas you can perceive as many trees as you want. The painting is more open.”
http://www.gerhard-richter.com (Source of all the quotes above. A really great, comprehensive site.)
He also has fantastic series where he actually used paint directly on photographs, and the photograph is part of the work itself. The series, “Overpainted Photographs,” is interesting in that while the photographs might lend a more “realistic” look to the works compared to his straight paintings, his treatment of them makes them far more abstract in the end. Check ’em out: http://www.gerhard-richter.com/art/overpainted-photographs/detail.php?14809
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