Gerhard Richter, Art Institute of Chcago
Stacey and I did a quick tour of the Art Institute in Chicago yesterday, focusing on modern paintings. We noted the careful compositions of O’Keefe, the range of approaches used by Picasso, the use of the full color spectrum by Kandinsky. The abstract paintings of Gerhard Richter demanded a close look because of our art colony focus on exploring new painting techniques. A gallery (room) was devoted to his work, the most impressive of which were a series of large (6 x 6 ft?) paintings called Ice (Eis) 1, 2, 3, and 4.
As to technique, the note posted in the gallery said, “He built up the surface with multiple layers of paint, laid on with alternating horizontal and vertical strokes (pulls of a scraper). Each pull added a film of pigment but in places also dragged up one or more underlying layers.” Even so, we couldn’t figure out which layers came first. Was the paint still wet when the new layer was applied? Was the scraper flexible? How large was it? How was it loaded with paint? Approaching Richter’s effect would require a lot of experimentation, but any effect that we achieve could lead to something exciting.