Juan Carlos Palenzuela

Although since 1959 Luisa Richter regularly exhibits in museums and galleries in Caracas, in her workshop one can appreciate many of her works, especially those dating from the seventies. Not that her work lacks circulation among collectors, but, rather, her creative process is very intense. Not to make a statement, but is that on daily basis, exclusively, Luisa Richter is dedicated to the business of artistic creation.

Hence, when considering a new exhibition of the artist, both her recent production of 1997 - 1998, and the works of previous years, including the ones from the seventies and eighties must be taken into account, as a selection.

Seeing again the paintings of Luisa Richter implies experiencing the certainty of approaching a visual language. Hers is not known for facilitating popular access codes. Hers remains between planes and reflections, between crossings and connections, between moments and components, emptiness and fullness, between memory and metaphor, between the canvas and the paper, in short, on the stages of visibility.

In her painting, Richter works textures, transparency and planes of a spatial geometry. The subject of her painting is the space and its escape. Geometry in space without time or a center, in which sometimes brief figurative data happens among planes, reflections and the continuing constructive sense. Escape from the depths of space or the layout of the lines. Escape by the use of the checkerboard and visual changes it generates. But this has been temporary in her work as space remains, and is the centerpiece of her doing. The escape then inverts in the idea of the temporary Parallel to her paintings we have her works on paper, these collages based on old prints, drawing, writing and painting, where the artist displays the multiple value of the signs, a potential of lines - (paper, brush, ink ) - that test a grammar of space - time.

The diagonals are very important and constitute alternative visual transits to straight lines, to lintels, to the frame that appears and reappears. Master Ivan Petrovszky has commented on her line that has "character, always straight, never undulatory and generally with great sobriety." Linked lines and contrasted.

At one time the critics spoke of expressionism, referring to Richter's painting, just as her palette was of broader color registration. Then in the eighties, blue accents predominated in her painting. They were enclosed spaces, in perspectives, in diamonds that reflect obliquity and vice versa, with unfinished or open circles and squares, with a color after color, with thick lines that structure the fragments of the thing built, with a richness of color that moved. Gradually, the textures, the dynamics of the matter and the aggressiveness of the image.

After would come not only a change of color but also the resource of the line, often thick in the foreground, as refunding what happened in the work. Ring of grays and white fields to sign a melancholy of the painter, of what constitutes a permanent vision.

When we see her oil painting "Land Cut", 1959, we find several signals from all her doing: the light coming from the background of the work, the energetic brush lines that frame the space, a color between gray, blue and black and even her signature in print. The affinity with "Outlines", 1974, is amazing. The links with "The House of Oblivion", 1984, reveal the consistency of visual thinking. The phrasing "Tacarigua, 1988, restrained in its formulation, is proper of a vision that stands in the middle of its renovation. I've heard Petrovszky saying this phrase defining Richter’s painting: "It has the colors of chamber music because with few instruments it reaches the tonal purity."

Roberto Guevara referred in 1980, to Richter’s canvases as the "place of verification, that of individual truth, that of the image as an experience of reality. Also Guevara stated "the dual field of the times” involved in this work, so we also understand the dual space of sight between the interior condition of the being and eternal data of the circumstances.

Luisa Richter makes this double level from white, white tones to achieve the gray or atmospheric blues and cross through the remains of ocher. Strong and thick white lines, whites that pass from one to another plane. Line and color in a process of expansion or concentration, of moments and perimeters. “Flat Space " was the title of a series of her oil paintings shown in Venice in 1978. White, Cirlot says, "is somewhat more than a color" and then attributes the value to symbolize wholeness and synthesis of the different. "White, then, as the single element it is, at the same time, atmosphere, matter, line, gesture and sign. White is the reaffirmation of the sensible image.

All of the above to return to the main point by which the work is matter and form. For Richter, her expressive forms are not only traditional squares and rectangles, but even small ovals, long rectangles and large or reduced formats. Moreover, she not only integrates canvas and paper, but even takes fragments of her works - which for some reason did not interest her in its entirety - to reintegrate them into new creations. Her sense of collage, in conclusion, not only happens in her works on paper but also in her paintings.

The matter remains conditioned by the cumulative, albeit since prevailing the process based on white and gray, its space, its sign, its spelling, it is made behind the light, it goes on behind its architecture "between the light and the things" - she would say. Light in his case, as Maria Elena Ramos warned in 1988, behaves "as a maker of the flow, of the unfinished".

Over the years, Richter's work is characterized by a synthesis of language, a persistence of the existential question; engage in a visual that is based on the transmutation. Her work is the result of internalization and her call is produced in the enigma that could reflect us. "Painting, as the artist says, brings a new surprise each moment."

March 1999