Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present Jim Richard’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, and the twentieth of his career. It features paintings, works on paper and collages.
Since the 1980s, Richard has painted dramatically decorated interiors inhabited by overscale art objects. Art and décor clamor for attention, questioning what, if anything, wins out.
The centerpiece of the show is FUN, a large painting (46×90 inches) of a decorated party room that started with good intentions, but is on the verge of careening out of control. The issue is confused and crowded by the inclusion of art works among the decorations. Hovering in the middle of the activity is a large modernist emblem that attempts to reassure that the center will hold.
In both collages and gouaches, Richard calls attention to ways in which art is presented and displayed. The Installation collages depict offbeat museum interiors with art works not only installed on the walls and floors, but also floating in space. Many of these thumbnail size works are reminiscent of known artists and styles, from Abstract Expressionism to Modernist sculpture. They are mixed with plush toys and design objects that bring to mind period décor from the 1950s to 1980s.
A figurative sculptural form dominates the gouache Torso. Lacking a head or arms, it could date to ancient times, yet its body shape seems more from the modern era. Painted in a monochromatic palette of mauves and purples, the sculpture almost overtakes the room, as if it has a life of its own.
By characterizing how art is displayed both domestically and institutionally, Richard calls into question our very relationship to it. Each space is devoid of humans, but their absence does not seem to matter. For Richard, the art, objects and their environments exist in a merry-go-round world of their own, and the viewer may or may not be a few steps away.
Richard’s work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, among others. He has had solo exhibitions at Inman Gallery, Houston; Oliver Kamm 5BE Gallery, New York; Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans and the New Orleans Museum of Art. He lives and works in New Orleans.