press release

From November 17, 1999 to January 1, 2000, Cheim & Read will present an exhibition of new abstract paintings by Richmond Burton. Burton had his first exhibition in New York in 1987. This will be his second exhibition with the gallery. In his catalogue text Dominique Nahas describes Burton’s work: …Since Richmond Burton’s move to East Hampton about a year and a half ago from Manhattan’s Tribeca, his work has changed in some important respects. While remaining true to the spirit of his earlier inquiries, which consisted of evaluating a netted planar system and violating it with incursions of color and saturated hues, the work has acquired a new-found opulence, a sense of delight in making his richly patterned surfaces materialize and dematerialize. The overall structure of his works is more fluid, the colors more freely applied, the drips more apparent; while on another level there is more spareness to the overall structures, and ambient background colors are used… …Burton’s artwork, somehow, even in its cacophony, reflects a perfectly harmonious natural condition of being which invites comparisons between Art and Nature. Such comparisons might easily seduce us with longed-for reassurances of a still-alive-and-kicking Kantian ideal through which we sense that (as the philosopher puts it) “…nature is beautiful when it resembles art and art can be called beautiful art only if we are conscious that it is art while yet it looks like nature.” More importantly, though, the strange beauty of Burton’s work reminds us that it is his articulation of these two different realities, nature and art, (our perceptions of which make up the world), not his representation of them, which draws us to his artwork. If there’s any truth, any authenticity, to Burton’s paintings, if they seem somehow to be more realized than our own appreciation of nature, and more real than the spectacle of nature, it may be because his paintings are more structured, more differentiated than our normal, everyday, and customarily lazy perceptions of the world’s workings, not because they manifest any particular ideal.

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Richmond Burton