Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Watching Gerhard Richter

What a fantastic movie!  I am grateful for netflix.  It arrived in yesterday's mail, just as I took to bed with a horrible head cold.  What better distraction than to watch Gerhard Richter paint, talk about painting, hang exhibits, and be a real person.  Early in the film he looks at the camera and says, "I can't do this - paint while being watched.  It is something done in secret."  As the movie unfolds he seems to have overcome that self-consciousness and we see his awesome works develop.  Sometimes I liked the earlier versions better than the final versions!  It was interesting to see his relationship to the international art world, its museums, galleries, collectors, fans and paparazzi - later telling his assistant it was like theater, and once saying to someone "get me out of here."  

Much of his free flowing technique using squeegees reminded me of a mixed media class I took in which the teacher never used a brush - she just moved paint around with the kind of plaster trowels you get in a hardware store.  Big difference however in doing that on 9" x 12" watercolor paper with acrylics and using giant squeegees on huge canvasses with oil paint, while standing on a ladder!  But because of that experience I have a great appreciation of his signature gestural movements, use of his whole body, and the intuitive nature of his mark making.  I am a fan!