Luisa Richter's paintings, more than any other relevant artist of the last four decades, have categorically denied the plaintive ditty proclaiming the death of painting. This is confirmed not only by the textural proximity of her canvases, the touching and controlled amplitude of the gesture, or the intelligence of her color strategies. The fact that Richter is part of a handful of living artists that really think when painting and dramatizing the conditions through which the aesthetic thought comes to life also confirms it. Richter is a glory of European art, particularly in her native Germany, as she is for the South American art, where she is a revered figure, especially in Venezuela, her second homeland.
In her concrete and glass house of severe Le Corbusier style, built on top of a mountain covered with lush vegetation, on the outskirts of Caracas she has implemented some of the most striking paintings of her generation. What makes them great is her ability to capture the action of abstraction of the pictorial imagination and understand the fundamentals of spatial thinking, at the same time clarifying the process by which these creative feats are accomplished. In simpler terms, Richter's paintings bring together the domains of intuitive and analytical thought, and serve as introspective windows (as opposed to the closely self-referential) from which you can see this simultaneity, the poetics of painting. What in other artists is a register number of the action and passion, or delight in the art and color, in Richter it becomes an almost metaphysical act of making tangible the idea that, paradoxically, cannot be contained in the image, even when at the same time, it is inseparable from it.
It is as if each painting raised an ineffable question, as if that question, more than the answer, was always the main objective of the work. What permutations of a circle signifying the infinite can continue even after they cease being a circle? Can a circle or a sphere be represented, and therefore realize a presence on the mental level, through any portion, an arc or some echo of roundness?
How does it alter the archetypal shadow and fragmentation? What is the role of our frustrations on the fragility or intractability of the matter in the delight we find in the light? How does refraction or dispersion, or both, exalt the idea of form, which constitutes a threat to their direct visibility?
It is not a hidden question Richter disturbing each Richter’s painting, but that each painting requires the viewer to plot this kind of questions. In turn, these questions make us go back to the painting to enjoy its lyrical labyrinths of light, gesture and form. In essence, Richter's paintings are on the temporality of creation as an act in which the foundations of perception come together in new coincidences and sequences, new parameters.
These sensual whirlpools of thought and matter propose a new understanding of time. While earlier artists distilled abstract textured and non-referential images of "reality," Richter asked if you are not conducting a simultaneous journey of thought, if the painting as an image and the form as essence are not equally attracted to life, recognition and function. The temporality of the imagination has to do precisely with a double gravity. Richter absorbed sensitivity for the geometric of modernism inspired by constructivism and its successive heirs, especially in Venezuela, whose kinetic artists would dominate the postwar scene. She also endorsed a variety of informal and abstract tendencies that were more dominant in Europe and North America during that same time.
Its bright tropical environment also pushed her imagination to the number of physical freedoms that would have been difficult to use in other media.
The mark of a great artist, such as Richter, is the ability to transform what once exercised its influence over her in such a way that due to her work we cannot re-think these sources in the same way. She has taken the geometric form, gestural abstraction, color and light to the level and images and premises of thought. The eye moves from pebbly surfaces to insinuation of pigments, as if each painting- an uncontainable landscape as well as a luminous architecture- would try to become as complex and immediate, compartmentalized and simple as the world itself.
Thanks to Luisa Richter, no one needs to apologize for the relentless fertility of the painting
Miami-USA, June 2002