Artist Profiles

John Kacere
Laura '94 - 1994
oil on canvas
36 x 52 in.


		John Kacere
		What separates Kacere from his fellow Photo Realists is that he has no interest in recording the complex 
		banality of diners, pickup trucks, suburban streets, small town movie theaters, western horse shows and all 
		of the slices of Americana that they depict. Nor is he interested in how the eye makes meaning out of the 
		optical signals of a photograph. His themes are those of obsession. For Kacere, the cascade of drapery of 
		a raised skirt, the buttocks or mons veneris seen through bikini briefs, the garter belts and the sheer stockings 
		are not only the trappings of seduction. They are a kit of parts, as were Morandi's humble jars and bottles, 
		that give him the formal elements with which to construct his erotic icons. For almost twenty years, he has 
		delicately rearranged the parts, varying the models and their garb, but they have all been visions of the same 
		Goddess. Any one of his best works would have been sufficient homage to the Goddess, but can a painter 
		ever say "Well I did it" and put away his brushes. Kacere keeps pursuing his obsession. "Perfection" is a 
		demanding task/mistress.

		Paul Brach
		East Hampton, N.Y.

		John Kacere

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Jay Kelly
Eighteenth St./Jersey City N.J. - 1997
watercolor on paper
10 x 26 inches (25.4 x 66.04 cm)

		Jay Kelly
		Jay Kelly is a hyper-realist painter of exceptional talent. The intensity of his craft and the belief in his subject 
		matter infuses his works with a detached warmth more real and compelling than photographs, which a 
		casual observer would swear to be seeing.

		Along with Davis Cohen, John Salt, and Richard McClean, Kelly joins the ranks of a school of painters 
		who've gained a firm foothold in the history of art. His ability to stop the movie of life and show us one frame 
		in total detail, gives us cogent insight into the nature of people, places, and things.

		Kelly is a truly American artist be-cause he dispensed with the academic paradigm of how a person 
		becomes an artist. He never went to art school, and has very little to do with the art world. Kelly was actually 
		fired from advertising and took advantage of his extended vacation to fuse meticulous nature with sensitivity 
		to arrive at his present mode of consummate expression.

		Having grown up in the relative safety of the suburbs, places like Newark and the Bronx always represented 
		for Kelly the idea of the dangerous. Kelly shows us that there is beauty, even humor, in decay.

		One of Kelly's underlying themes is that the America that once produced the most quality products in the 
		world is gone. His paintings in a sense are elegies for the proud objects of America's past. His metaphoric 
		still lifes are like dinosaur bones of an industrial age that is becoming no longer viable as we move into the 
		next century where the computer chip will supercede the spark plug.

		It is possibly the poignant subject matter, the ironic sadness of these fallen giants that makes Jay Kelly so 
		compelling. In his flawless style, the bleached light falls over a symbolic graveyard. His personal commitment 
		to perfection resounds on a grand scale against the rusting history of our fading era.	

		Excerpt from Ravi Singh
		Cover Magazine, Jan. 1990

		Artist Statement:
		The focus of my work is depicting the area in and around the port of Newark, New Jersey. Known to most 
		people as an area they drive through, few pause to notice what is around them as they travel on one of the 
		many major roads that intersect there. My work freezes a moment in time to allow us a chance to stop and 
		see this environment and possibly get a glimpse of ourselves at the same time. A glimpse of who we are by 
		what we have created and have left behind as we unceasingly race into the future.

		I have purposely chosen not to add or eliminate any details from these scenes so that they accurately portray 
		what is there: an environment I see as full of the contradictions of life. For instance, they depict an eerie 
		stillness found in an area frenetic with human activity or the pure white snow covering the black stain of a 
		recent oil spill.

		In these industrial scenes we also see our strength to create and at the same time nature's ability to reclaim 
		what was once her own. Abandoned trucks, once useful, are now slowly rusting and being absorbed back 
		into the earth. Fields of new grass rise where once stood oil storage tanks. It is the decay of industry along 
		with the rebirth of nature. It is splendor and chaos coexisting out of man's need to create.

		Jay Kelly, May 1996

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William Nichols
Northern Reflections - 2001
oil on canvas
43 x 80 in.

	
		William Nichols
		William A. Nichols' paintings can be described, paradoxically, as gestural Photo-Realist works. Photo 
		Realism's flawless imitation in paint of a photographic sur-face leaves little room for the gesture, but this 
		contradiction is resolved quite successfully in Nichols' paintings. The artist takes his own photographs, 
		mainly of subjects in parks and botanical gardens in the Milwaukee area, and works from a slide projected 
		on his canvas. The rapid, gestural application of transparent mixtures of acrylic paint suggests the 
		spontaneity of Impressionist technique but the photo reference here is unmistakable. The color in his 
		landscapes often has a slight overall tint which suggests the distortion common in color slides, and 
		"overexposed" light areas and 'underexposed" dark portions serve as compositional elements in the 
		paintings.

		Acrylic watercolor is not the usual medium of Photo-Realist canvases, and Nichols' surfaces differ 
		accordingly. The clarity of his paint is especially appropriate to the depiction of the foliage, flowers, and 
		white-aired spaces that are his subjects; the light translucence of the paint itself suggests the freshness of 
		the natural subject matter.

		The overwhelmingly lush and extravagant visuals sometimes delay perception of the formal elements of the 
		compositions, but Nichols best paintings are vigorous and sophisticated compositions of both structure 
		strength and subtlety. 

		Excerpt from Catherine Lamagna
		Arts Magazine, September 1979

		Artist Statement:
		Verbalizing about the visual arts is always a difficult task that usually falls short of the mark. It is a domain of 
		ambiguities and a job that's made even tougher when talking about your own work.

		So with this in mind let me do my best and say that I use the landscape for what it is capable of generating; 
		great beauty, sensuality and a sense of time. I have pursued these qualities through looking at 
		landscape--close up as opposed to a traditional vista or distanced viewpoint. The peculiar sense of 
		intimacy that this achieves, I have tried to heighten through the large scale of work and by handling the 
		paint in a way that imparts a sensual and tactile awareness of surface at close range.

		The photograph is an important component in constructing the painting. Its ability to lock in quantities of 
		information at a precise moment in time and report candidly about it offers a unique vantage point from 
		which to explore and reflect on things with a new kind of thoroughness. The photograph helps me create a 
		view from a distance that has great pictorial clarity with an attempt to place the spectator in the landscape, 
		that is, trying to create a sense of being surrounded by it rather than approaching it frontally.

		Because of the inate beauty of the subject matter itself, the underlying toughness or edge of the work is not 
		as obviously accessible as it is in other works which focus more directly on this aspect. Finding a form or 
		path of constructing the painting that both includes this beauty yet transcends the sentimental and pretty 
		which the subject matter could easily become, is a major challenge and one which I hope I have been 
		successful in overcoming.

		Frankly, it is difficult to speak directly about the content or poetry of the work. Suffice it to say that it is of 
		great importance to me and available for the viewer to experience and define for him or herself.

		William A. Nichols, 1991   

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Richard McLean
Farm Near Elk Grove - 2000
oil on canvas
9 x 23 inches (22.86 x 58.42 cm)


		Richard McLean
		There are many names for the type of art practiced by Richard McLean: Photo Realism, Post-Pop, Super 
		Realism are some of them. The paintings look like photographs. Even when viewed from close range, their 
		surfaces are so smooth that it is difficult to believe they were done by hand. 

		McLean's large paintings take him from two to five months of painstakingly skillful labor to complete. Like 
		most of the other photo real-ists, he works from photographs, either his own or ones he has found 
		elsewhere. Taking innumerable slides, he com-poses his pictures by cropping undesired elements and 
		introducing bits and pieces from other sources, finally choosing the one composition that can be best 
		transferred to the large scale and the intense focus of the painted canvas. The result is made into a 
		transparency and projected onto the canvas, where McLean makes a tracing of the image in graphite. 
		During the painting he is guided by a color print of the photograph. As McLean says, it sounds simple but it 
		is not.

		Despite an almost chilling objectivity, Super Realism has retained it's popularity amongst the many and 
		varied contem-porary schools of art. McLean is unique among its practitioners in that instead of depicting 
		such inanimate objects as store fronts, trucks, food and gleaming surfaces he turns to nonurban subjects, 
		like the horse and horse-show life. Born in Hoquiam, Wash., and raised in rural Idaho, he did "a fair amount 
		of farm work" in his youth, he says, rode, went to country rodeos and owned a few horses. Searching for an 
		identity in his paintings he turned back to that experience. He was spurred on by a discovery he made in 
		San Francisco magazine distributing office.

		"They handled various horse magazines, and in poring through back issues it dawned on me that there was 
		a gold mine of material available in print. I was already interested in a centralized, frontal, focused image. If I 
		doubted the concept in any way, those pictures convinced me," McLean says.

		At times there is a cutting edge to the people in his paint-ings. He admits to viewing the eastern tradition in 
		horses as elitist and finds a quality of charming hokum in "western finery, country music and eatin' beans 
		around the campfire" a reach-ing out for an ersatz culture that perhaps never really existed in the West. 
		But he denies that he is making "some acid or ironic comment on an aspect of American life," a charge that 
		has been made with some justice against other photo realists. "My interests are aesthetic and intellectual; 
		they are centered around the problems of painting."

		Many of those problems have to do with the traditional view of the horse. "We tend to see the horse as action, 
		passion, rippling muscles," McLean says, "the storm and stress we associate with dynamic energy and 
		purity." He has challenged this traditional view by picturing the horse in a static pose, taking a subject that 
		was "admittedly sentimental and putting it through the crucible of my painting powers to temper and harden 
		it, to give it some kind of intellectual toughness, to make it read as a painting, as hard art. And yet the subject 
		is romantic."  

		Excerpt from: Phyllis Linn, Classic: Magazine About Horses and Sports, 1976

		Artist Statement:
		My work is, among other things, about order, equilibrium, tranquillity and innocence. It is also about the 
		largely undervalued pleasure and spiritual instruction one takes from the sheer look of things.

		Richard McLean. 1997

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Joseph Richards
Essex V - 2001
oil on canvas
72 x 48 inches (182.88 x 121.92 cm)


		Joseph Richards
		It has been twenty years since I first started concentrating on mechanical subjects for my paintings. During 
		that time, I had painted some railroad subjects yet had paid scant attention to locomotives. That is until 1991, 
		when I encountered a steam locomotive that was running on a scenic line. The sight and sound were very 
		exciting and the complexity of the machinery was like a wild abstraction. The intricacy of the locomotives 
		movements was a marvel to see.

		I was reminded of my childhood when I used to watch these giants working in the local switchyards. Back 
		then, I was a bit frightened by them. They seemed almost to be living entities. Even standing idle with their 
		steam up, they were never silent -- they panted, grunted and hissed. I knew I wanted to paint these truly 
		remarkable machines. Over the past few years, I have painted a number of locomotives and found that 
		there is a segment of the collecting public that is just as fascinated with them as I am.

		My research has informed me of the fact that there are nearly two hundred of these grand old machines still 
		working. They may not be hauling freight over the mountains but they are hauling passengers on excursions; 
		they are still doing their thing.

		Joseph Richards, 1998

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Lance Richbourg
Alvin Davis waits for the Call - 2002
oil on wood
34 x 66 in.

		Lance Richbourg
		BASEBALL PICTURES BY RICHBOURG
	
		Not that our civilization lacks its charms. One is the lyric romance of the game of baseball. It is a 
		sophisticated sport where guys built like Roman gladiators execute feats of terpsichorean grace in hitting, 
		throwing and tagging each other with a rather small ball.

		It is such an art in itself that serious painters have rarely undertaken it as a subject. Now we find a dozen 
		large pictures that seem to echo "Mrs. Robinson's" lament, "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?"

		These are by Lance Richbourg, a California artist who has stayed ahead of his times by ducking behind 
		them. He painted portraits long before recent revival of the practice, then disappeared from public exhibition 
		for several years.

		His comeback at Arco Center for the Visual Arts finds Richbourg altered into the best artist he has ever 
		been in works that may have significance beyond intrinsic merit. They are derived from baseball 
		photographs from the '20s and '30s and painted in homage to the artists baseball-player father.

		Athletic scenes of batting and sliding are slowed to a dreamy, pastel pace where catchers seem to tenderly 
		caress skidding runners. Richbourg has developed a technique of carefully recording scenes on heavily 
		textured surfaces that break up outlines so paintings combine the high realism of an Eakins or Anshutz with 
		the metaphysical stillness of a Giorgio Morandi.

		The artist capitalizes on the dramatic natural compositions offered by the sport, making strong formal grids 
		where baselines lend hard-edge structuring and red dust captures the excitement of Abstract Expressionism.

		The paintings capture the mythical qualities associated with nostalgia and avoid pitfalls of regret and 
		cuteness. If we ever figure out what Post-Modernism is Richbourg may be a part of it.

		L. A. Times Calendar, March 1981

		Lance Richbourg
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