Richard Artschwager

Richard Artschwager

Work from his oeuvre.

“The practical skills that he developed as a craftsman, along with his use of unconventional materials like Formica wood-grain laminate, Celotex ceiling insulation panels, and rubberized horsehair, distinguished Artschwager’s efforts from those of his contemporaries. His scientific training also came to bear on his work. In both his early grisaille paintings on Celotex and his Formica sculptures, Artschwager edited down the idea of the object to its most basic components, removing items from their everyday contexts and placing them under scrutiny in much the same manner as a scientist working in a laboratory.

When asked about his 1964 sculpture Table with Pink Tablecloth, Artschwager once responded, “It’s not sculptural. It’s more like a painting pushed into three dimensions. It’s a picture of wood.” Artschwager made this idea more explicit in later pieces like Splatter Chair I, 1992, in which the object is flattened and splayed out on a wall, creating a hybrid form. Conversely, his paintings of modern buildings and bourgeois interiors and his photorealistic portraits are sculptural in their presentation. Using imagery culled from newspaper photographs that he enlarges with a grid technique, Artschwager paints onto the nubby and uneven Celotex surface. He borders these works with heavy, fabricated Formica or mirrored frames, propelling his paintings further into the three-dimensional realm.” – Blouin Art Info

A survey of Richard Artschwager’s work is on exhibit at the Whitney through February 2013.

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