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November 17, 2022 – January 14, 2023
515 West 24th Street
Gladstone is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Richard Aldrich. Through a multifaceted, conceptually-based practice that encompasses painting, sculpture, and drawing, Aldrich defies simple categorization. Here, the artist presents a series of works that continue upon his career-long interest in visualizing immateriality and the processes of perception through the modalities of art and exhibition making. Unlike previous exhibitions, which often brought together a curated selection of works from the past two decades of his career, the focus of this exhibition is a series of the artist’s recent large-scale paintings made over the last three years.

Aldrich’s intentionality in this new selection of paintings is immediately recognizable, with each work acting as both art object and, when viewed all together as a complete exhibition, as mirrors through which viewers can undertake their own understanding of what is presented, beyond the visuality at hand. Resisting easily digestible categories like abstraction, figuration, and collage, Aldrich proposes a new form of comprehension by positing how art concepts are used and presented, without being rooted in stylistic definitions.

In these paintings, forms, textures, landscapes, and patterns appear in both abstracted and discernible spaces. Image making takes many forms: sometimes it is more straightforward as in the basic reproduction of a figure from an anime film, or in a composition based on a photograph of a wall of fabrics. In others, cloth material is layered directly onto the surface, and physical elements protrude both conceptually and literally. Forms cut out from one painting find themselves repurposed in another; subtle motifs appear and reappear, both in paint and in fabric. The previous functions and histories of these fabrics— old studio shirts and leftover material from a quilt made by his partner—and the intimacy of those histories are the fundamental basis for their use. All the while, layers of paint are built up to create dense yet nuanced surface and color compositions. Throughout the works in the exhibition, the artist demonstrates the malleability and potential for an understanding of art’s function beyond the confines and structure of art history.


For a while now the artists I often look to are Redon, Moreau, af Klint, Vuillard. In their paintings the question seems to be “how did they get there”? What is the path to making that painting, what were the decisions and how did they make them? Existence is just a series of decisions and how we think about them (moral, ideological, economic, pragmatic). Art, in turn, becomes a metaphorical blueprint for how this can be expanded into broader issues (personal or societal). Processes that, now more than ever, require vulnerability and honesty to work through. For both the artist and the viewer, and how this is extrapolated beyond art, these are two qualities that I think are most necessary in finding ways to interact in the world and with each other.  

This (honesty and vulnerability) can be read in a painting, which becomes evidence of humanity. Seeing that humanity—absorbing, psychically, that humanity, is most important. The immediate and direct response and reaction; the one on one relationship between the viewer and the viewed. 

Just as it is important to connect, it is important to understand the machinations of how this potential connection (culture) happens. In our current cultural/social/political climate we exist in this contentious context of acknowledging the variance of truth and reality and at the same time acknowledging the need for a shared truth and reality. Not exactly the balance of subjectivity and objectivity, but similar in that there isn’t one or the other but rather how one understands their coexistence. I.e., Light is a ray and a particle, depending on how you want to frame it. 

Shadowrun is a role playing game combining cyberpunk with fantasy—the two classic rpg settings (the past and the future). It is something I never actually played as a kid but read obsessively. The world it presented that one could create in their own head was utterly thrilling to me. A year ago, I stumbled across the ad campaign for a fashion label that paired their spring 2022 line with futuristic looking accessories. These were the clothes of cyberpunk—just updated fashion from the past but with technologically advanced gear as well. This was something that I found so inspirational; after seeing those images, for the rest of day I was on an art high I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Inspiration is often something that recalls an emotion or feeling from one’s childhood. And while no one can know the exact specifics of another person’s emotions, everyone can relate to this process of remembering. But the expression of that experience isn’t and shouldn’t be artifacts of that childhood, but something else entirely. How to express the feeling of that experience? And how to get at that remembering?