Richard Raiselis : Soliloquy
Mar 11 – Apr 30, 2022 at Gallery NAGA
Gallery NAGA presents a masterful solo exhibition of new paintings by Richard Raiselis, for the first time since 2014. The artist will be present on Saturday, March 19, April 2, April 16, and April 30th from 2-4 pm to chat with visitors. There will be no opening reception.
Perched views of Boston’s skyline are paired harmoniously with views from the artist’s back porch in a suburb west of Boston.
Paintings of man-made structures mimic the forms of robust trees in the woodland landscape. Light filtered through branches and foliage imitates the bright reflections against gridded windowpanes.
The exhibition is varied in subject matter yet synchronized in its approach. Intimate portraits of trees and high rises are rendered with the same exquisite care and detail.
The New York Abstract Expressionists used to say that the painting talks back. It tells the artist what it wants to be. A soliloquy is the act of talking to oneself to an audience of self. Painters might, as I do, mumble to themselves as they paint, “lighter, a little bluer,” but the painting itself is doing most of the talking. We are together, one thing.
After my last show, I continued to paint city landscapes in Boston. But in January of 2019, I fell on ice. The break in my arm was a doozy. After surgery, during the long recovery at home, I would sit at my bedroom window and watch the sun’s daily magic. Eventually, studying the backyard pines, I could make postcard-sized watercolor drawings with my good arm.
A few of those old trees are tall enough to fall in a storm. And they reminded me of myself — tall, aging, leaning, broken. But still vertical. I began a conversation with my pines. “I like you. I’ll paint you. I’ll talk to you every day if you agree not to fall on my house.”
As I healed, my conversations deepened. I could go outside, I could prepare a bigger canvas, I could stand closer to the tree. I watched the pinecones grow, the needles fall, the branches break in the howling winter wind. We were together, one thing.
Last year, my neighbors wanted to prune one of those leaning pines, and they were sensitive enough to ask me first. I want to thank them here for sparing my coniferous friend so that I could continue my slow-talking soliloquy. I am so grateful, Jeff and Maria.
Preparing for the show, I have not been painting outside much this month. But whenever I shovel the snow off the deck or sip a scotch at the porch rail at sunset, I talk to the pine, and compliment the golden coat that slowly diminishes to its magnificent crown, and then, vanishes into the indigo air above.
– Richard Raiselis, February 2022