EXHIBITIONS & NEWS
Latest news and exhibition information
September 7, 2021
Lately I've been questioning the widely-held "truth" that, as artists, we need social media. I recently re-joined Facebook after a full year hiatus, and almost immediately regretted it. Importantly, my art career did not wither and die without it. In fact, it thrived.
So today I deleted it again; this time for good. I put a "taking a break" sign on my Instagram account profile and deleted the app from my phone. I'll report back in a few months to let you know if my career actually suffers.
I'm very much alive and well and working as many days in the studio as humanly possible. I'll post new work here within the next month.
New series of black and white abstract paintings on paper.
Christopher Rico returns to black and white painting after a few years of exploring color. What is different in this series from previous explorations is its murkiness and looseness, mired in something cosmic, metaphysical, and philosophical.
For this body of work Rico uses oversized calligraphy brushes on Yupo paper. He laid out long sheets on the floor and masked off dimensions for what would become separate sheets. Many of the eventual works were painted together as one in order to preserve single and repetitive strokes that materialized as part of his daily meditations. This physical meditation resulted in artifacts of gesture allowing subconscious imagery to emerge freely as though they were born from the depths--where a physical entity’s relationship to gravity and environment is different than for lifeforms on the surface.
The theme of creation and destruction being inversions rather than opposites has long fascinated and influenced Rico's artistic practice. He marries the formal with the emotive in ways that manifest as dramatic, beautiful, haunting, and visceral. Materials are evident; the process feels hidden, even elusive. This sense of mystery supports the internal mythologies that develop within the work; dragons, leviathans, deep fields of space that reference the divine and the sacred, emerging like shadows flickering on the cavern wall. A single stroke across a canvas or a page translates as a living thing, full of energy and life force yet completely non-representational.
Rico states, "I am naturally an introspective person, but the isolation of last year caused me to go much deeper. We are all seeking some way to understand the past year. Like many, I feel that I am coming up for air after a long time submerged. This is fertile ground for myth and stories; for the mysterious, the awe-inspiring, the provocative, and even the confrontational. I am always pursuing the means to communicate these themes visually."
June 01, 2021
It's remarkable that I've been in my current studio for 14 months. For very obvious reasons, the past year seems unreal. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for my studio space, especially as a safe space to simply "be" during a time of isolation, uncertainty, and close quarters. As we begin to look at life anew, it is time to literally clean out the old; so I'm having my first annual Summer Flat File Sale, and you're invited.
There will be an in-person preview reception on Friday, June 11th (details below) and the online sale begins at 09:00 AM on Saturday, June 12th (Eastern Daylight Time, US). I'm offering up many of the works on paper I've been posting on Instagram over the past year, plus some older work not previously viewed. This is a chance to collect some small works inexpensively. I will reserve some works for the online sale, but those who attend Friday evening will get to choose from a collection that will not be posted in my store. You can access my store by going to my website on June 12th. The sale will run until Sunday, June 13th at 6 PM (-4 UTC).
Like many of my peers, the last year provided a strange residency of sorts. Much time was spent working alone in the studio and taking stock of artistic explorations. Working on paper brought back a sense of intimacy in my work, and a renewed interest in black and white compositions. I am fortunate (as I write this) to have a new solo exhibition with Kasper Contemporary featuring some larger works on paper. It's live now on Artsy: Click here to view
2020 was a year of unexpected collaborations. Some projects materialized, while others have yet to do so. I'm happy to continue my relationship with Kasper Contemporary in New York, and to expand into the midwest with EmbraceCreatives out of Detroit. I was fortunate to exhibit regularly in 2020, including the largest collection of my work ever exhibited, at Presbyterian College's Elizabeth Stone Harper Gallery last September. You can see a video walkthrough of the show here.
For my NYC friends, I'm planning my first waning COVID trip to the city to catch the Alice Neel show at the Met before it comes down. I've been a long time fan of Neel, and this show is long, long overdue and yet perfectly-timed somehow. Let's meet; prepare for hugs! I will be up in July, dates pending.
Finally, thank you for your support; be it liking my social media, collecting, or simply being in my creative orbit. I could not do what I do in a vacuum.
Here's to the unofficial start of summer!
INTERVIEW ON SHOUTOUT ATL
I sit down with folks from Shoutout ATL for a chat about art. (photo credit Will Crooks, 2020)
AT HOME MAGAZINE, SUMMER ISSUE
Inspired by calligraphy, Christopher Rico offers a conversation on canvas
Christopher Rico's paintings feel like an invitation to a more in-depth conversation about what it means to be human. The deep blacks painted in great swoops and arc with a Chinese calligraphy brush float in luminescent washes, lending an aesthetic that feels both new yet rooted.
read article here
CHRYSALISTASIS, LYONS WIER GALLERY
June 1 - 28, 2020
Curated by James Austin Murray
"What are artists creating in their studios? With exhibitions cancelled or just moved online, and no artist receptions planned any time soon, artists continue to work. This exhibition is not about the COVID virus or social distancing, but it's a product of the changes brought on by these new circumstances. I reached out to 50 artists whom I admire to see what they were doing during this unique time of isolation and social unrest. Many are located in the New York region, others hail from throughout the U.S. as well as far afield as India, Australia, Brazil, Cyprus, Germany and England. These are their works." - James Austin Murray.