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Art: RAiR exhibit: Justin Richel

Submitted Art, Photo by Tonee Harbert Untitled (work in progress), by Justin Richel, 2020, wood acrylic, cassien, gouache, enamel on shaped canvas, dimensions variable.

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Roswell Museum and Art Center to host new exhibit, A Window, A Door, A Ladder


With an interest in simulacra and trickster mythologies, Justin Richel’s recent body of work explores the art and artifice inherent in the painting medium through the combined practice of sculpture and painting.

He began the series with a simple line of questioning: “What is a painting?” Perhaps the simplest answer to that question is its materiality, which is traditionally paint, canvas and wood supports.

“What is the function of a painting?” A window, a portal, or an aperture; framework or ideology — an object of and for contemplation.

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The work within Richel’s exhibition is simply constructed from paint, canvas and wood. The works differ from traditional painting in that they are object based, sculptural forms. Each object began with a wooden skeletal structure that acts as the stretcher for the canvas. Numerous layers of paint are applied to the canvas to physically build up the surface. The resulting object employs both techniques of traditional easel painting and a realistic impasto-like surface that describes the object’s physical three-dimensional qualities, essentially adding yet another layer of illusion to the surface.

Richel received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Maine College of Art, and later studied the technique of icon painting at the Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunk, Maine. He has been awarded residencies at the Fine Arts Work Center (Massachusetts), the Monhegan artists’ residency in Maine and an Arts/Industry residency at Kohler Co. (Wisconsin). His work is held in the collections of the Portland Museum of Art, the John Michael Kohler Art Center (Wisconsin) and Fidelity Investments (Massachusetts), and has exhibited widely at various museums and art centers including, the Wadsworth Atheneum, DeCordova Sculpture Park & Museum, Ogunquit Museum of American Art, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the Fitchburg Art Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Maine.

This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program. A Window, A Door, A Ladder will be featured from Jan. 8 to Feb. 19 in the Marshall and Winston Gallery at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, 1011 N. Richardson Ave. There will be no artist talk. For more information, visit justinrichel.com or roswellmuseum.org.

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