Gerhard Richter: Works on Paper and Selected Paintings

January 10 - February 22, 2003

Press Release

Barbara Mathes Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of works on paper by Gerhard Richter. This show will feature a selection of the artist's abstract work in both watercolor and oil on paper.

Richter equates watercolor and painting to 'a poem and a novel by the same author,' which is clearly demonstrated by a comparison of his watercolors and work in oil on paper. Using all the layered mixtures and rich colors that watercolor can offer, Richter allows the medium to blend across the paper in bright hues and leave whimsical tracks from blotchy forms. To Richter, it is the unpredictability of the result that is an important factor in the technique of painting in watercolor, so he has allowed the paint, in most of the works, to find its own way across the paper as much as possible.

In terms of oil on paper, however, Richter's work more closely resembles his paintings on canvas. Though far less well-known, this is an independent and substantial part of his oeuvre on which he has worked intermittently and exhibited only occasionally. Richter has admitted that in executing these works, he envisioned the outcome, seeing "such works on paper behind glass, with mats and frames"(Schwartz, Dieter. Gerhard Richter Aquarelle/Watercolors, 1964-1997. Dusseldorf: Kunstmuseum Winterthur, 1999, p. 24), a foresight rarely afforded to his other works.

Nevertheless, whether predicted or not, these works maintain Richter's vision of the abstract, employing traditional media to express the utmost in complex issues and visual immediacy.