Richard Bosman: Painters Painting
Nicelle Beauchene Gallery – Until Jul 29, 2022 New York (US)
Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to present Painters Painting, Richard Bosman’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition was curated by Matthew Higgs, the director of White Columns, New York’s oldest nonprofit alternative art space. The exhibition takes its title from Emile de Antonio’s famous 1972 documentary, Painters Painting: The New York Art Scene 1940-1970, and features works made over the past 13 years that focus on the subject of art. and art history.
last 40 years.
Richard Bosman is an accomplished “artist’s artist”, a “painter’s painter”. His work of the past 40+ years has an almost cult following: whose members would include Peter Doig, Gavin Brown and Higgs himself, who paid tribute to Bosman’s work while he was in art school at UK. Best known for his iconic “hard water” paintings of the 1980s. Paintings inspired by the great American mystery novels of the 1930s and 1940s. Bosman constantly returned to subjects of the art and history of art throughout his career.
Overwhelmed (1986), a painting from his “Studio Series” of that year, shows a male artist in his studio, paintbrush in hand, being ravaged by a wild animal. Adrift (1986) shows an artist face down, surrounded by his paints, brushes, palette and canvas, adrift on an ice floe and clinging to his life. In these self-conscious melodramatic works from the 1980s, Bosman disrupts the image of the heroic male painter of the Neo-Expressionist era. (Bosman’s work is often misaligned with the return to expressive painting of that decade, when in reality his work had more in common with the ideas of artists associated with the contemporary “picture” generation.)
Painters Painting explores Bosman’s enduring interest in the myth of the artist-painter and the self-reflective entanglements of “art about art.” The exhibit includes Bosman’s depiction of an abstract painter at work atop a ladder. His reimaginings of art historical classics in the painted installation Museum Wall (2015). Paintings of bourgeois interiors of artists’ houses (Ensor and Magritte); back paintings of paintings by other artists; paintings from artists’ studios; and his surrogate “portraits” of artists depicted as if they were doors.
According to Bosman, the artist’s studio becomes something akin to a crime scene: where the activity of making art, or simply being an artist, could well be a matter of life or of death. (Literally in his imagination of Mark Rothko’s studio.) Like the existential protagonists of his earlier “black” paintings, who operated in the shadows and beyond the restraints of polite society. famous artists whose life paintings by Bosman commemorate – inc. Barnett Newman, Francis Bacon and Philip Guston, among others, are both misfits and iconoclasts.
Writing about Bosman’s work recently, artist and writer Brad Phillips suggests, “Richard Bosman paints many subjects, many scenes and many moods, but the ones that seem missing from his work are peace of mind, serenity , security and relaxation. In this way… I came to see his work as being linked to the life of the artist. The artist’s life is eventful, beset with danger and instability. The human battle to conquer or survive the elements is no different from the artist’s battle to conquer or survive an encounter with a blank canvas.
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