Gerhard Richter: Paintings from the 1980s

February 01 - April 13, 2002

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Press Release

Barbara Mathes Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings from the 1980s by the renowned German artist Gerhard Richter. The show features the artist's abstract work, including two very important triptychs from 1986, Fisch (1-3) and Schiff (1-3). Each work is composed of three separate canvases that are seemingly interconnected by two continuous triangular shapes, which form a rhombic plane when viewed as a whole. The artist creates a sense of light and depth in these works with metallic-like shading on the pictorial surfaces. This illusionary space is interrupted by the artist's deliberate splattering and smearing of vibrant colors all over the canvases. The effect is one of instability and disorientation, which is further emphasized by the basic structure of each triptych being an inverted mirror-image of the other.
With Fisch (1-3) and Schiff (1-3), Richter's goal is to create an overall sense of beauty that does not adhere to any aesthetic ideology and yet is still perceivable. The artist believes that by refusing to abide by any aesthetic rules he represents the only truth and only hope for finding any meaning in art. He states in reference to his abstract paintings in general, "... we have found a better way of gaining access to the unvisualizable, the incomprehensible; because abstract painting deploys the utmost visual immediacy - all the resources of art in fact - in order to depict 'nothing'... So, in dealing with this inexplicable reality, the lovelier, cleverer, madder, extremer, more visual, and more incomprehensible the analogy, the better the picture. Art is the highest form of hope." (Text for catalogue of documenta 7, Kassel 1982).
While Richter has proven himself to be a multi-faceted artist, alternating between abstraction and realism over the past three decades, abstraction remains a driving force for him. Paintings from the 1980s offers the opportunity to view important works from this period.
Please contact Jill Bishins for more information about Gerhard Richter: Paintings from the 1980s – Tel.: (212) 752-5135, E-mail: art@bmathesgallery.com