Juan Carlos Palenzuela

Although Luisa Richter exhibits regularly since 1959 in galleries and museums of Caracas, many of her works can be seen in her workshop, 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 on a daily basis, exclusively, Luisa Richter is devoted to the craft of artistic creation.

Hence, when considering a new exhibition of the artist, there must be taken into account both her latest creation, from 1997-1998, as works of previous years, particularly from the seventies and eighties, as a selection.

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

Richter, in her paintings, works textures, transparencies and planes of spatial geometry. The subject of her painting is the space and its escape. Geometry in the space without a center or time, in which, sometimes, happen brief figurative data in the middle of planes, reflections and the continuing constructive sense. Escape through the deepness of space or the layout of the lines. Escape through the use of the checkerboard and visual changes it generates. But this has been transient in her work while the space endures and is the centerpiece of her doing. The escape then is invested in the idea of transience. Parallel to her paintings we have her works on paper, those collages based on old engravings, drawing, writing and painting, where the artist shows the multiple value of the signs, a whole potential of lines-of paper, of paintbrush, of ink- that test a grammar of the space.

The diagonals are very important and alternative visual transitions to straight lines, to the lintels, to the frame that appears and reappears. Master Ivan Petrovszky has told me about her line that they "are of character, always straight, never swaying and usually of great sobriety." Lines in connection and contrasted as Delacroix advised

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

Then would come a change not only of color, but also of the resource of the line, many times thick and in the foreground, as re-founding what happened in the work. Tones of gray and white spaces to sign the melancholy of the artist, of what constitutes a vision in permanence.

When we see her oil painting "Land Court" from 1959, we find several signs of all her doing: the light coming from the bottom of the work, strong brush lines that frame the space, a color between gray, blue and black and even her byline in print. The affinity with "Contours" of 1974 is amazing. The links to the "House of Oblivion", 1984, reveal the consistency of visual thinking. The wording with "Tacarigua" of 1988, restrained in its formulation, is proper of a vision that stands in the middle of its renewal. I have heard Petrovszky saying this phrase that defines Richter’s painting:” It has the colors of chamber music since with few instruments she reaches the tonal purity."

Roberto Guevara referred, in 1980, to Richter's canvases as the "verification place”, that of individual truth, that of the image as an experience of reality. Guevara also noted the "double scope of times" that this work implies, so that we also understand the dual space of vision between the inner condition of the being and the eternal data of the circumstances.

Luisa Richter elaborates this double scope from the white color, shades of white that can reach the gray or atmospheric blues and cross through remnants of ocher. Whites of thick, strong strokes, whites that pass from one plane to another one. Line and color in a process of expansion or concentration, of moments and perimeters. "White Spaces" was the title of a series of her oil paintings shown in Venice in 1978. White, Cirlot says, "is somehow, more than a color" and following attributes it the value of symbolizing wholeness and synthesis of the different." White, then, as a single element that is, at the same time, atmosphere, matter, line, gesture and sign. White is the reaffirmation of the sensitive image.

All of the above to return to the main point by which the work is matter and form. In Richter’s case, her expressive forms not only traditional squares and rectangles but even small ovals, large rectangles and l very large or reduced formats. Moreover, she not only integrates canvas and paper, but also takes for herself, fragments of her works-that for some reason she was not interested in its entirety- to reintegrate them into new creations. Her sense of Collage, in conclusion, not only occurs in her works on paper but also in her paintings.

The matter remains conditioned by the cumulative, although since the process prevails based on white and gray, her space, her sign, her spelling, it is done behind the light, it happens behind her architecture. "Between the light and things” -she would say herself. Light in her case, as Maria Elena Ramos warned in 1988, behaves "as a maker of fluid, of the unfinished."

Throughout the years, Richter's work is characterized by a synthesis of language, by a persistence of the existential question, by an insistence on the visual that is based on transmutation. Her work is the result of internalization and her call occurs on the enigma that could reflect (us).

"Painting, the artist says, brings a new surprise every moment"

Caracas, Venezuela
March, 1999