Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gallery Visit: Marian Goodman: Gerhard Richter

There is a five-decade survey of drawings by Gerhard Richter at the Drawing Center in Soho. Mr. Richter is an artist of many styles. His idea is to keep his meaning unclear. Traditionally trained, Mr. Richter became involved with Conceptualism early in his career. He took basic techniques apart and rethought them.

This is the way he developed a drawing called "Mountains." First, he took a photograph of a grand, romantic, mountain. Then he turned the photo into a slide, which he projected and then drew. The drawing lost the image in translation, becoming a blobby form that looked like an amorphous creature as much as a mountain.

Richter likes to blur the boundries of each medium. Some drawings in graphite look like paint strokes. Small watercolors look like large oil paintings. They were actually done by dripping paint and moving it around.

Some drawings are graphite scribbles. Yet he has drawn academic studies of a skull, and a female torso.

He wants you to feel unsure of what you will see. He works in many styles without committing to any one. I liked the four very large drawings from 2005 that hang together on one wall.

The show is organized in clusters of ideas, a good way to see the ideas Mr. Richter is developing over a period of time. The Drawing Center is a great place to see all his drawings, large, open, and neutral, it is a quiet place that lets you study the work slowly, and arrive at your own thoughts.