Micaela Frank reflects on the ways that Jim Richard’s exhibition at Arthur Roger Gallery connects his work with that of his former students.
Jim Richard, Cheryl Donegan, Amy Feldman, Wayne Gonzales, and Lisa Sanditz
Arthur Roger Gallery
432 Julia Street
March 5 - April 23, 2016
Jim Richard’s ninth exhibition at Arthur Roger Gallery brings together four of his former students—Cheryl Donegan, Amy Feldman, Wayne Gonzales, and Lisa Sanditz—to share the gallery space with him. It has the collegial feeling of a school group project, with the artists putting in their own individual contributions, but this is one where the teacher joins in too.
Richard’s paintings, which often depict kitschy interior scenes, greet visitors when they enter the gallery. One small work on paper, Tiger, 2009, shows a retro living room, cluttered with 1970s furniture, a library of books, a limp doll, and a tiger stuffed animal. These items don’t interact with each other, appearing frozen in isolation. Richard often paints art within his art, like a never-ending matryoshka doll, and Tiger features two geometric sculptures that seem like they’re floating, disrupting the realism of the scene. Despite the domestic warmth of the room’s tones, a feeling of coldness abounds among the unused things.
While Richard’s works focus on interiors, Lisa Sanditz’s paintings in the next room move outdoors, projecting the untamable forces of nature. Just as Richard’s pieces are filled to the brim with material objects, Sanditz’s are crowded with thickly-painted brushstrokes, her bright colors oozing over the canvases. In Fumigation Tents, 2016, Sanditz ushers viewers into a landscape—seemingly untouched by humans except for the appearance of luridly-striped termite tents—an imaginary realm that feels both timeless and placeless.
From here, the gallery continues in numerous directions—to the video-performances of Cheryl Donegan and to Amy Feldman’s large, greyscale paintings—but always returns to Richard, revealing the ways artists can teach, inspire, and provoke one another. Richard is keenly aware of the successes of his own pupils and presents a fruitful conversation between teacher and students—or better yet, between mentors and friends.
Micaela Frank is a junior at Tulane University and is part of Pelican Bomb’s internship program with local undergraduate students.