I just recently became a member of Xchanges and in the course of the last few months, since I paid my 40 dollars and attended my first meeting, I’ve met a lot of interesting people. Artists, actually. For the next few weeks, as I get to know the membership better I am going to feature certain artists and their studios within the hallowed annals of this blog. If they’ll let me.

First up is Richard Motchman, who very kindly invited me to explore his figures, his paintings and his studio earlier this week.

Richard is a tall elegant looking guy with a big head of white grey hair, Jim Jarmusch style. His studio is neat. I went in alone. And I was quickly overcome with simple delight. I could feel it in my stomach and in my throat. I know that because I am new to the honourable activity of art writing and consequently to art looking that indeed I am somewhat vulnerable to my impressionable tendencies. I do love art. It is a magic and it is freedom and in this state I’m in, I’m in love with art. True too of Richard’s work and his studio. It’s ridiculous of course. But forgive me. Other than hanging out in the studio spaces of my long time art friends, Richard’s was my first studio visit. As I said I was overwhelmed. I was charmed.

I took pictures. And when I finally got home late in the night on that same day, I sat quietly alone for a few moments looking at the photos I had of Richard’s work. I was prepared for that lovely light feeling that I felt in his studio, but instead, staring at his fibreglass figures on my computer screen, I felt sad. There is a bandaging effect that he has used in a couple of the pieces, so that they are not whole, but are pieces, they are pieces held together by painted faces. The woman in the corner is pleasantly dressed and if she could just get up and move of her own volition she would no doubt be charming. She is however entirely passive. She does not move; she is moved. She can be destroyed utterly, without regard; she is not a woman. I don’t know what she is. She is not a woman.

Richard’s paintings are interactive. Each painting holds a revolving block that can be swiveled with a dowel protruding from the bottom of the support. Here Richard shows himself to be concerned with the natural world and it’s inhabitants and the ways in which we intrude upon or abuse these spaces. The work here, as in the case of the figures, is somewhat rough hewn. The presence of the artist is very evident and it has a brutal quality quite at the other spectrum of delight. Rather it undermines the initial response to what at first seems quite quirky and child-like. Closer inspection of these works may leave one feeling a little uneasy, closer inspection may require something well beyond a glib physical response.

Of course, this was just a studio visit. A gallery show would be even better, presumably more expansive. But what a wonderful experience to be within that private space. Like being within the skin of art. Thank you Richard.