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One could easily be forgiven for thinking wild thing, Daniel Richter’s energetic and seductive solo exhibition at Regen Projects, has far too many paintings in it. In truth, there are significantly more canvases than a typical installation of works this size; yet it quickly becomes apparent that premeditation, not compulsion, directs this immersive exhibition.
Known for haunting, psychedelic compositions that fuse abstraction and figuration, Daniel Richter’s work is populated with ghostly figures that exude a comedown from the utopian idealism of the 1960s, and the later, anarchic thrust of punk, alike. While Richter’s previous bodies of work extended glimpses at disparate socio-political narratives, there are no such offerings here. Instead, a newly liberated and streamlined method of execution makes for seemingly endless variations that almost exclusively begin with horizontally striped, multi-colored backgrounds on which carnal vignettes are constructed. While the source material is clearly lifted from the pornographic arena, the resultant imagery is a sublimated departure from its sordid origins, leaving behind a nebulous, though still legible, representation of form.
Had the artist chosen to depict faithful renditions of the appropriated imagery, the result would have been a kind of recalibrated voyeurism. Titillation is not of primary interest here; rather, Richter sees these primal acts as a means to fully engage physical momentum, dramatic gesture, and compositional dynamism. Though Richter’s new shadowy figures share the same resplendent colors of works past, they’re unencumbered by the constraints of historical allusion—here they are caught in a perpetually vivid and alluring purgatory.
Daniel Richter: wild thing runs June 25–August 20, 2016 at Regen Projects (6750 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90038).