Richard is an award-winning artist whose work can be found in many private collections around the world. Not only is he an artist but also an educator in multiple mediums and sits on the local town arts council of East Hampton, NY.
Throughout the years, Rich has been an athletic facility manager, tennis instructor, golf instructor/caddie, equine farm manager/worker, art instructor, high school volleyball coach, high school tennis coach, and is currently vice president of a small family business. With each of these endeavors, it’s always felt like something was missing. It wasn’t until speaking with a few influential artists in the community that the possibility of an art career was given legitimacy.
Growing up in ‘The Hamptons’ has always brought with it a stigma of being overtly wealthy and privileged but for Richard, that was not the case. He had what to many would be considered a “normal, middle class” upbringing and his early work reflected that. It mainly focused on what childhood was truly like and not what it was perceived by many to be. Paintings were created to show the beauty and grace of the local residents apart from the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Current work is now focused on what constitutes identity and how we distinguish one person from another beyond that of appearance. Can we see each other’s differences without making judgement? Are we able to acknowledge those differences while being accepting of their humanity all the same? If personal identity is formed as a direct result of outside experiences, than are we not all tied together through these shared experiences and exist within a common framework making the individual self eternal in a forever evolving human existence? Theories on identities and how they may or may not affect varying levels of society can be found within the context of many current works.
The premise of the images takes on a minimalist approach where any ‘noise’ outside of the main concept being voiced is removed. The viewer may now focus on that which has been deemed necessary and of utmost importance to the artist. Through painting and other mediums Richard brings a visual context to how the self may influence and be influenced by the outside world.
One facet of human nature seems to involve identity. The fabric of a person’s identity can have many threads: birthplace, skin color, lessons drilled at home, expectations based on gender and age, inherent skills, schooling, neighborhood distinctiveness, and lived experiences.
Many theorists, from Plato through Fukuyama, hold that our individual and species identity is constantly in flux, with consistent struggle between the inner self and the outer world. The individual’s specific circle of society, the “outer world”, urges conformity to local mores, offering the security of acceptance as the reward. Thus, historically humans have been assigned to and exist within a comfortable, although limited, cultural identity. Any struggle between self and world was presumably resolved during a lifetime in a familiar setting.
Over eons of expanding human conduct and interaction in areas such as commerce, geographic exploration, artistic endeavors, scientific methods, and engineering systems, the rate of societal developments has increased to a dizzying pace. With the advent of social media, we are experiencing a frequently threatening collision of cultural differences on a global scale. Persons and groups can sense threats from sources previously too remote to recognize. (Interestingly, those who never felt that their identities were accepted in the larger circles of their own society are now able to find acceptance in virtual groups.)
Some people and groups strongly resist having their cherished identities altered by ‘outsiders’, putting up virtual and sometimes physical barriers; others welcome and accept, even invite, cultural change. I am interested in investigating the relationship between personal identity and global culture.