Saturday, 11 April 2009

Gerhard Richter

On Monday I went to the Gerhard Richter exhibition being held at the National Portrait Gallery. I'm not an expert at art appreciation, but his photo realist paintings are amazing. He works from photos and newspaper clippings, painting them in detail, before dragging a dry brush across the wet paint to produce a feathered edge. This blurring gives a sense that the portraits are only a 'semblance' of the person, reflecting Richter's belief that a portrait shouldn't express the soul or character...that reality cannot be seen or known but remains under a veneer of appearance.

Gilbert and George, based on a multi-exposed photo Richter took of the artists.

I couldn't relate to the coldness behind his ideology, but judging by the poignant portraits of his ex-wife (painted after the marriage broke down) with her back turned to the viewer...I think it's impossible not to see any kind of emotion, even if it was behind the lense.

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