Exhibition – New paintings by Keith Richardson

– Keith Richardson –

Venue: The Greenlane Gallery Dingle

Dates: 23rd October – 13th November

Official Opening : Saturday 23rd October at 6.00 pm

Keith Richardson is a Silgo based artist who has enjoyed great success in the past few years, emerging as an artist receiving critical and commercial acclaim. His vibrant abstract interpretation of the landscape has seen his works been added to many private collections both here and abroad. His work has recently been accepted by a prominent New York City gallery.

“I attempt to interpret the outdoor environment in whatever way it suggests itself when I am present in it. My starting point is always the actual scene at a specific time, and I tend to focus on the aspects of a landscape that are constantly changing like the light and shadow, or movement in water, this allows me to make a statement about this one moment and how the complications of our everyday lives and worries seem to dissipate and lose their demanding voice in this environment of stillness and silence”. Keith Richardson

In the case of my landscape paintings it’s the soul’s desire to escape the daily entrapments of the mind’s concerns. The landscape is a metaphor for the freedom of the sprit going forth. Emerson wrote eloquently of the liberation he found in the woods in his essay “Nature”. This element of spiritual liberation as expressed by the Transcendentalists of the mid 1800s was a strong influence on this collection of works and continues to influence me as a contemporary landscape painter, even while we redefine humanity’s relation to the natural world we inhabit.

Through art we attempt to possess, to inhabit, to identify with or become one with a thing or a place. The ancient cave painters painted what was important to them, the animals that provided their sustenance. In the same way, landscape painting can reflect a spiritual hunger.

This little story may covey what I mean. A couple of years ago we were on an surf expedition trying to find hidden gems on the west of Ireland, driving around country roads at sundown. We were cruising a back road which paralleled the coast looking for a likely turn-off to a hidden beach, which we found before too long. The road finally ended at a small gate of a local farmers field. We crossed the landward side of the field and progressed to a large sand dune. Out of breath with our boards in hand, we reached the top of the dune and gazed out over the great ocean. The sun had just set, and soft grey and yellow clouds covered most of the vast sky and played their colours on the almost-breathing shoreline spread out before us in three directions. We fell silent for a while, an occasional schoolboy tap on the shoulder was the only thing that dragged us back from the hypnotic scene to the present and when we finally spoke we said, “This is amazing,” “It’s just incredible.” We really didn’t have the words for it. It was one of those moments when natural beauty just overtakes you and you know you are possibly the only people in the world at that moment and time to witness this natural fleeting beauty in this remote place before it disappears and would never be exactly the same again.

It’s not a matter of painting the place as it is; I try to paint the feeling of being in that place. I use the landscape as a way to try to paint the feeling of being.

For me, the process or act of creating should have at its core a contemplative, spiritual understanding of the landscape, which is to say nature. The act of creating is an act of learning. Unfortunately these ideal conditions don’t always hold, and much of the process gets bound up in capturing certain fleeting moments with a camera, which is something I try my best to avoid as I feel there is more of a essence of the moment when the mind tries to recapture the feeling of the place rather than the sum of it’s relevant parts or landmarks.

I grew up in a suburb of Dublin, a gritty urban hub of Ireland’s industrial belt. In light of that one could say painting rural landscapes is escapist, and I wouldn’t argue. Lately, though, I’ve become interested in urban landscapes, closed factories, refineries, railroad tracks, trucks and oil barrels. These things can evoke feelings too. Buildings, city streets, bridges, I’m not as certain about the feelings such places arouse as I am with the coasts, for example. Painting these pictures becomes an examination of those feelings.

This work doesn’t attempt to be ambitious art, in the art-historical sense. Mine is not an art of strategy. What I have to say functions more as an emotional response to my surroundings and how as a people and a culture we are losing that fundamental connection in the name of progress to the detriment of our forthcoming generations.

“My ambition is to, at the least paint a few canvases in my life time which will be an emotional kick in the ass for the person looking at them”.  Keith Richardson 2010

Go Forward With Courage
When you are in doubt, be still, and wait;
when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.
So long as mists envelop you, be still;
be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists
— as it surely will.
Then act with courage.

Ponca Chief White Eagle (1800’s to 1914)