Gordon Richards

Tides Of Spring

Official Opening Friday 14th November 2008

                                      

  “This show is about trying to capture that feeling of being outdoors when the rain has gone and the sun is shining through. As always, the paintings reflect the wonder in the ordinary things that go on in our lives - those that are neither deliberate, planned nor thought about.” 

Gordon Richards celebrates the simple pleasures in works of art that do not attempt to mean anything beyond the visual delight they bring to the viewer. The immense popularity of the paintings owes much to the vibrancy and accessibility of his imagery. We want to participate in the exuberance with which Richards embraces life and all that makes it worth living: fine cuisine, convivial company and a garden fragrant with spring’s offerings. The Tides of Spring pictures celebrate an end to winter’s gloom and herald long, glorious, Dionysian days in the sun. 

The old adage that an artist should paint his experience finds particular resonance in Gordon Richards’ work. Lifestyle history permeates his subject matter. Sourcing much of his own produce, Richards was originally a highly acclaimed chef and restaurant owner in Bendigo, Victoria. During the early nineties he relocated to Queensland’s Noosa, where the creativity of his new ventures was quickly acknowledged. The “fantastic light and colours” of the Sunshine Coast proved to be an inspiring environment indeed, for it was in Noosa that Richards eventually exchanged his chef’s knives for paint brushes. 

His abiding concern for a harmony of flavours, colours and textures to produce a very special dining experience was readily transferred to purely visual accomplishments, at first sculptural, and then with paint or charcoal on paper, canvas and linen. Having relocated to Sydney eight or so years ago, and recently spending time in the Southern Highlands, Richards has revisited his passion for horticultural pursuits. This current body of work references the ‘greening’ of his urban habitat. Now “surrounded with nature’s abundance and constant change”, Richards is again able to host culinary entertainments reminiscent of those he enjoyed in the tropical north. 

Whether elbow-deep in flour, soil or paint, Gordon Richards immerses himself in the processes of creation. To familiar recurring motifs such as half empty bottles of wine, sumptuous fruits and luscious, decadent desserts, have been added flower-filled shrubs in tubs and rows of daisies, jonquils and lavender nodding in their own heady scent. Richards’ gorgeous blonde is ever present: sometimes gleeful with arms outstretched; sometimes demure and hands behind back. Multi-coloured birds watch from blossomed bowers or swoop in fleeting visits.

Richards communicates a ‘joie de vivre’ where hedonism vies with innocence. Quite apart from any narrative content, this is expressed in tactile, sensuous surfaces. There is no semblance of restraint or deliberation to his approach - his training as a chef has enabled him to work fast and spontaneously. Radiant in a scraped-back layering of rich colour over white, textured grounds, the paintings seem a declaration of personal freedom. Eccentric perspectives and exaggerated forms intensify the mood of gaiety.  We are charmed by his optimistic enthusiasm - his vision of hope and interconnectivity: “Seeing for seeing, rather than seeing for knowing”.    

JACQUELINE  HOUGHTON

 

                

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