Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Painter Worship - Gerhard Richter

When I was 21 and just out of undergrad I came to Chicago to interview for jobs. While here. I managed to make my way into the Art Institute one day to check out the Gerhard Richter retrospective. In short, my life was changed.

I bring this up quite often, because I think it was the first time I had a spiritual experience with visual art, something I had many times with music. I just felt it. I was moved by it. I was brought to tears and I couldn't explain why, but just being in the presence of these incredible works affected me significantly and changed me as both an observer and an artist.

I also realized my favorite Sonic Youth album had a Richter painting as its cover.

I was particularly interested in Richter's photo realist work, but I was also moved by his surprising body of abstract work.

How do you explain that kind of experience? Why this painter? I think I hadn't ever seen relatable craftsmanship and skill like that before, especially on a grand scale. Sure I had seen some classic painting, but I felt like I could get in these. They were present for me in my time and they really were surprising. Changing, even.

1 comment:

  1. I went to the Richter exhibition at The Tate Modern this morning and I found many of the pictures absolutely amazing. Both The Reader and Betty - had a quality to them that I found just captivating - I have only painted in watercolours before but it made me want to pick up a brush and try oils. They really moved me - so beautiful. I enjoyed many of the others and the exploration of his relationship to the canvases he created. Fantastic!