January 17 – February 14, 2015
532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel presents an exhibition of work by Ira Richer.
Including recent paintings and earlier works in Formica that were shown at Nosei Gallery.
When describing the work Anthony Haden-Guest writes:
These pieces combine deft materiality and wit. As with the hammer, the magnet, the exclamation point, the scribbled title in “Gulf”. So too the paintings. Richer’s palette inclines to early summer and isn’t scared of black. Note the shadow in “The Yellow Cave”. His line can be at once elegant and muscular as in the “Massage”Painting in a way reminiscent of early Hockney – and there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that – but where Hockneys are purposefully allusive, something anecdotal, these are simply what they are. A fully-formed figure is often a presence, as dominant as in Munch or Dubuffet, but as with these artists, they are not borrowed from elsewhere. The picture-plane is the petri dish in which they exist. Nothing decorative, every form has meaning, but it is often enigmatic.
An engaging shape that is central to two canvases looks somewhat like a tuber or – it is pinkish – might it be a human organ? It doesn’t matter. Richer’s form happens to be based on a female figure, bending. Behind her, on one canvas is the table at which Cezanne’s card players are seated and the other seems to sport black shoes and gloves. Hamlet, toying with Polonius, says: Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel? Decoding forms is a natural function of the brain.
So the paintings in the show look kind of radical in a period of when so much that floats its seemingly critic-proof way through the market looks strategic rather than felt. “When I think of Munch’s Scream. I think how lucky he was to have a pier to scream on above Oslo, by himself all alone.” Ira Richer says, “Man has become a species whose land is reduced to a table top. His existence is engineered and contorted by others. And the last indignity- is- we have to hold our smile”. I see fugitive signs that the times may be a-changing though.
These paintings are such signs of life.
Ira Richer studied at Cooper Union (BFA) and at Yale University (MFA). Ira is a Professor of Drawing and Advanced Painting at the School of Visual Arts, New York. His work is in the collection of the Vincent van Gogh Foundation Arles, France; the Bob Blackburn Collection/Smithsonian Institute; the J.Patrick Lannon Foundation; the Francisco Pellizzi collection; the collection of Lucien, Yolande and Ann Clergue among others.