Exhibitions
September 14 - October 19, 2002
Opening Reception
Saturday, September 14, 2003, 5 - 7pm
Richard Shelton
New Paintings
 
 
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Richard Shelton
New Paintings
There is a certain prescience to Richard Shelton's newest paintings in this dot gone/ corporate meltdown climate, especially timely since he has been tearing off the faŤade of corporate America for a couple of decades now. Where his last series of "Corporate Men" at frumkin/ duval gallery pictured single men in rumpled business suits in isolated abstract space, in this new series he portrays them in the corporate environment. Several large narrative paintings also have allegorical readings that add rich layers of meaning. Among the latter is After the Meeting in which a naked young woman sits on a rumpled sheet in a hotel room facing the viewer. Her legs are slightly parted, and although her body is in full frontal position, she gazes off to the side in a reverie that excludes the spectators. A light illuminating a small romantic painting on the wall behind cascades over her like a halo. Shelton says he was thinking about a system that perceives beauty as a prize to be won or an award to be given. The woman in the painting has been objectified and presented to these men as reward for loyal service to the company. In response to the "Rococo 90s where excess in all forms became an artistic imperative", Shelton has responded with Neo-Classical formalism -- radical simplicity of composition and an obsession with form. The influence of Jacques-Louis David, particularly Oath of the Horati on this work, shows in the contrast between the male corporate figures who symbolize stoic duty and the female who represents the fantasy of love. In his series of multi-panel paintings, one or more figures occupy a single panel while the other panels are gradations of subtly underpainted tones. The spaces are purposely ambiguous although the palette suggests the architecture of the corporate environment. The paintings are loaded with contrasts. In Avant-Garde / Avant Guardian a well dressed CEO type stands against a gray background in one panel while in the other a casually dressed bohemian couple parade across a brightly colored panel. Also included are a series of acrylic paintings on the pages of the ledgers kept by the artist's grandfather and some small watercolor studies for paintings. Richard Shelton is a Los Angeles artist whose work is in the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. His paintings were included in the traveling exhibition "Representing L.A. originating at the Frye Museum in Seattle.. His work will be included next year in "Whiteness", an exhibition curated by Tyler Stallings that will preview at the Laguna Art Museum.