it’s rare to find the art lover who would collect both landscapes and abstraction. rarer still is the artist who can harmonize the two within the same panel as a true assimilation of one into the other. “they wind up having a horizon, but it’s more just about light. a landscape imagery comes from them being stacked vertically.” sometimes the paintings are cloudscapes in bright volcanic, mineral hues of orange and red—a response to the intensity of nature’s palette. sometimes they’re a little quieter, even including various layers of materials stacked upon each other.
there’s a flatness to the way the paint is applied. the canvases are pretty smooth, adding to the illusionary quality he’s going for. “relating to nature-oriented imagery lead me to be an abstract painter” because of the unlimited elements available. “the paintings have to do with nature but aren’t about nature.” it’s atmospheric and intangible, still fully comprehensible. it is abstract impressionism.
the actual configuration of the panels tend to be long and lean. vaux has done works that are six inches high by ten feet wide and run in a series. and has commonly created pieces that stand like japanese sh?ji panels. they dominate the peripheral vision to create an all-encompassing experience, thus adding to the depth of the illusion. “i think what it amounts to formally is a synthesis of poetic or organic information and then a rigidness or confinement [of the panel].”
but they can feel a little uncomfortable. like a new pair of shoes. they’re pressing against you, but you like it.
amidst the extensive plane of vaux’s imagination, the panels also have a deliberate geometry to them. they’re architectural. it happened for vaux because of the way you might look through a window and also see the reflection of what’s inside upon it. he started to experiment with adding squares onto his paintings—very subtly. either lighter ones that would pop forward or ones that are a slightly darker hue than the actual work and tend to recede into the background. it’s the geometry and the structural linear qualities of them that makes them multi-dimensional. if there is such a thing as 2d sculpture, this is it.
“for me, i don’t want them to be descriptive. even if there’s a logic to it…i just think of it as nature, really…because it’s illusion it can go a lot of ways.”
THE ARCHETYPAL LIGHTSCAPES / A SOLO EXHIBITION of Richard’s work will be on view at 9 East Contemporary Art, Huntington, July 19th—August 18th.