For Immediate Release:
October 20 – November 25, 2006
Opening Reception: Friday, October 20, 6-8pm
Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery is pleased to announce Jim Richard’s second solo show at the gallery which will include a selection of canvases, gouaches and collages.
The day before Katrina hit, Jim Richard raised everything in his New Orleans home-studio five feet above ground, thinking high water levels would be the worst outcome of the hurricane. The van Jim used to evacuate filled quickly with pet carriers and other essentials – the only art item he took was a satchel full of cut-out images for collaging. The images, which he had been collecting, saving, and cutting for almost two years, pointed to a new body of work that, although still taken from the world of décor and domicile, would be a departure from his paintings of art-laden interiors.
Jim arrived in Austin and learned the next day that his studio had taken on nine feet of water, destroying almost forty years of artwork and career records, along with the new canvases and works on paper he had completed for his show at Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery scheduled for October 2006 (he and Oliver agreed the show should not be cancelled or postponed). It soon became clear that Jim would have to stay in Austin longer than anticipated, so he started to look for a way to make work. The University of Texas offered him a small studio and designated him as Visiting Faculty. Jim had visualized how his collection of cut-out images would come together, so he found it natural to assemble the first few collages and every day the project gained momentum. During the next four months he worked on the collages and they added up steadily. In fact, their numbers became a problem – Jim found himself unwilling to let this new work out of his sight (a Katrina residual). Parking near his studio was impossible, so Jim took the bus every day, carrying everything of importance in a portfolio and tote bag, which grew heavier and attracted interest from fellow passengers.
While in Austin, Jim began shopping for a studio to rent in New Orleans and he found that there were few available spaces and that prices were high in the city. Ultimately he found a space in a strip mall in the suburbs near the airport. His eerie daily drive to the studio took him through large empty neighborhoods into the teeming suburbs, and the return trip reversed the experience. His teaching job was secure at the University of New Orleans, which gave him the designation of Research Professor, allowing ample time to paint.
On the task of getting to work under the new conditions, he says: “My old studio had become fine-tuned over the years to suit me in all ways. I was a hoarder of art supplies and had multiples of everything. Furnishing an empty studio with all-new items seemed unnatural and daunting, but the place became downright familiar as new works developed and the show for New York started to take shape. Now it’s done and it has done wonders toward helping me maintain my identity in an environment that is identified now primarily by Katrina.” He will demolish and rebuild his studio/home in Gentilly.
Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery is located at 621 West 27th Street on the ground floor. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11-6. For further information or images please contact the gallery at 212-255-0979 or visit, www.oliverkamm.com.