Opening: Friday, April 26th, 7–9:00 pm
The show runs Friday, April 26th
through Saturday, April 27th, 2019
Artist forum: Human Form in Art Today
Saturday, April 27th, 3 pm
Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 4 pm,
or by appointment.
Richard Motchman’s body of work consists of paintings that all have moveable panels, allowing viewers to alter their iconography. This manipulation brings deeper intimacy between viewer and painting. Motchman explores themes of intimacy, discomfort and vulnerability, all of which are human traits.
There will be a forum on “Human Form in Art Today” at 3pm on Saturday April 27th.
I once read a book on aesthetics that discussed the notion that “painting” is different from the other arts such as music, drama, and literature. The defined distinction was that the latter, by their nature, require time as an essential component. In contrast, paintings, can potentially be seen at a single glance in one strong image. I have been inspired by this distinction to create interactive paintings which are impossible to fully see in a moment so have the component of time also built into them.
This body of work consists of paintings involving inset triangular columns that viewers use to alter the iconography of the paintings. The manipulation of the columns brings a viewer into a deeper intimacy with the paintings as objects and with the model depicted in the painting whether as full figures or fragments of figures. With the nakedness of the male and female models that intimacy can become uncomfortable as the viewer is in a proximity, when altering the paintings, of only the closest relationships and that discomfort is an example of the vulnerability of people. Being vulnerable is a truly human trait as we are vulnerable to the play of emotion, madness, age, disease, or violence. We are also vulnerable to the manipulation of others so the discomfort of the viewer’s experience can increase depending on the viewer’s gender contrasting with the models’, and the chance to manipulate the body parts of the model like a puppet. This ties in with the traditional role of the male artist “using” the naked female model to create for the male gaze, however these paintings involve both genders, are naked rather than idealized nude figures so link more with the real world of the viewer.
With life-scale figures and fragments the human need of a connection with another person is possible; to further this connection the imagery of the panels is only of real life, however they are not all of the “normal” experience of life. The physical interaction with the paintings implicates people in the art, the viewer and the artist become collaborators with the finished painting just as the model and artist are collaborators at the start of the process. With the interaction there is real engagement on the part of the viewer as they make choices about how the painting is left (what expression on the face or what hand position) and so orchestrate the initial experience, the first glance, for the next viewer of the painting.
With the physical interaction inherent in my painting I insist that the viewer acknowledge the painting as an object of wood and colour, and that he or she be involved in the creative decision about how the painting will be arranged and so first appear to the next person. The extent of the viewer’s physical interaction required to fully experience my paintings is at the heart of my art practice and is meant to expand the definition of “painting”. ”Painting” historically has been at its best when in a process of change and development whether in iconography, materials, style, or technique. By bringing in a viewer’s physical interaction with a painting the further development of “painting” is pursued with the introduction of touch, movement, and time into a traditionally static and passive art.
For more about Richard’s work, please visit the artist’s website motchman-art.com