By Brian Goslow
In advance of Richard Kattman’s month-long “Painted Abstractions” show at Fountain Street Fine Art, artscope magazine’s managing editor, Brian Goslow, exchanged questions with Richard about the show, his current projects and whether or not the world would get to see an exhibition of his fascinating photos, many which capture the same abstract elements of his paintings.
BG: Tell us about the work included in “Painted Abstracts …”
RK: “Painted Abstracts” is a compilation of recently completed large paintings delving into ideas and concepts of “What is Abstract?” experienced in the concrete reality of placing paint on canvas. These works are in series, as they relate through mark making, the use of color, considerations of nature and the landscape, and through the searching for a higher plane of thought and/or experience. Meditations and reflections on life are essential elements of the works and are expressed in terms of joy, or happiness, or serenity, longing, and engagement with now to make a record of existence.
BG: What time period does it cover?
RK: The paintings are all recent in date from 2010 to 2013. Interestingly enough though, several are painted over previous canvases, so history and the passing of time are evident on the surfaces. White out is quite often a valuable method to attain simplification, adding those last points of enrichment.
BG: Has your work changed since you were one of our “25 to Watch” in our fifth anniversary issue in conjunction with your solo show at the Attleboro Art Museum in 2011?
RK: Since the Attleboro Arts Museum show, a concentrated effort has been made through freedom of expression to arrive at a consistent, focused abstract art that comes from the heart and mind.
BG: Many of your paintings are large-scale; is it difficult to move them from venue to venue?
RK: Working large presents opportunities to “use big brushes”, to fling paint with abandon and force, to create order out of violence or action. Of course, impact is a primary goal; more red appears as more red! The drawbacks, however, to working large, include sometimes-insurmountable difficulties finding venues, handling and transport, and framing finished pieces. A major factor in not getting work before the public is restrictive size qualifications imposed by galleries and museums for artist calls for exhibitions.
BG: What are you working on now?
RK: Lately my work has gotten perhaps more zen like in outlook, using simplified fields of primary and secondary colors, with floating islands or figurative marks, completely unintended. Always obsessed with the figure, it is imperative for me to explore the integration of “figure and ground” … moving forward. Also, however, a long forgotten and neglected interest in geometry is bothersome yet intriguing as an answer to the artistic quest.
BG: Will we ever see a solo show of your photography?
RK: My ambition with photography is immense for both urban and pastoral settings. Through many years I have photographed the streets of Boston and Providence with a 35MM camera, and spent summers wandering the beaches in Little Compton, Rhode Island with an 8 x 10 Deardorff, the size of a television. A small show of architecturally colorful pictures is planned for the Attleboro Arts Museum in September of 2013. Beyond that it is time to generate a theme and chase down a gallery!
(“Richard Kattman: Painted Abstracts” runs from February 28 through March 24 at Fountain Street Fine Art, 59 Fountain Street, Framingham, Mass; the show’s opening reception is Saturday, March 2 from 5-7 p.m. For more information, call (508) 879-4200. To see more of Richard Kattman’s work, visit http://www.richardkattman.com)