Daniel Richter (DE, 1962) is a Berlin-based painter who has an extensive history exhibiting in both Europe and the United States; in the last decade, he has had five international, solo museum exhibitions. His upcoming exhibition will feature a selection of new paintings which embody the artist’s propulsive approach to figuration. The interplay of strongly defined silhouettes and the subtle gradations of each background creates a balance between abstraction and figuration. Undercurrents of violence, isolation and awkwardness are indicated through a painterly language that deals in both absurdity and surrealism. The tension played out in Richter’s large-scale compositions is elevated by the colors and forms he uses and lends the works a ludic quality.
The new works combine outlined silhouettes in oil stick with unbound areas of pigment and dictate figurative shapes moving alongside one another upon spectrums of color, and color fields. They are a continuation of Daniel Richter’s radical 2015 departure from his earlier style. “I wanted to get away from a certain kind of narration and from the theatre stage and from the burden of already knowing what I’m about to do”, Richter says of the series. “When I started in the 90’s, I was mainly interested in the idea of how chaotic or crammed a painting can be: to the point that it collapses. And then I also had an interest in doing something that I would call image related. Image in relation to ideology and the production of ideology and clichés.”
Richter maintains that the dichotomy between abstract and figurative painting is a constructed fiction, since the formal problems of color and composition remain constant. This framework for thinking about painting continues to inform the development of Richter’s approach and is explored in the new works on display. Rather than pushing the limits of what the paintings can contain narratively, Richter transfers this sense of turmoil to the bodies of his subjects. Their limbs splay out across the canvas and grip onto each other in states of ecstasy or agony. These contortions of the body, and seemingly of the soul, reflect a kind of grasping among the chaos in a setting unimposed by the conventional order of our everyday lives