Thursday, November 20, 2014

Today’s Featured Artist

Ricker Winsor

This is a new feature that I intend to post on a periodic basis as time allows . . . no schedule. I will start with my old friend Ricker Winsor.

Star Spangled Buildings, oil on canvas
Ricker has been called a force of nature, which is an apt description. A Renaissance man is another apt description, because there is little that Ricker hasn’t done and he continues to do it all well. He’s been a vagabond, a beatnik, a world traveler. He’s been a hunter and a fly fisherman extraordinaire.  He’s a writer with two published books, Pakuwon City and The Painting of My Life, and he’s a blues musician who plays in coffee shops and other venues. But most of all, he’s a painter.

When I first met Ricker he was head of the art department at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, and he was living a kind of back-to-nature existence on Vashon Island. Today he teaches school in Bali. There’s no telling what he might do next.

Ricker’s art has grown out of the abstract expressionist tradition. In his youth he lived in New York and was friends with many of the first generation abstract expressionist painters. The artwork he was doing when I first met him consisted of highly energetic and colorful landscapes and similarly expressive pen and ink drawings of the island landscape, self-portraits and interior scenes of his studio. His mark-making was volatile, his colors — especially the yellows and greens of flora and sunshine — were intense. Both his drawings and paintings reminded me a lot of Vincent van Gogh.

More recently he turned to abstract painting with paintings reminiscent of Hans Hoffman. And more recently still he has continued in the Hoffman-like vein with highly abstracted urban scenes — rectangular forms in heavy impasto that vacillate between pure abstraction and clusters of buildings. These are dense, rich paintings with lushly applied paint. I suspect that as he continues to develop his art he will continue to go back and forth between abstract paintings and impressionist/expressionist landscapes, figures and interior scenes.

This guy is a pure painter.

Ricker's bookss -

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