Richard Raiselis: Time for Reflection
November 14 – December 20 at Gallery NAGA
From elevated perches above Boston’s waterfront and the Rose Kennedy Greenway , Richard Raiselis has developed elegant paintings that are portrayals of reflections and space. In November, this work will be shown in a solo exhibition at Gallery NAGA.
Richard Raiselis: Time for Reflection is on exhibition from November 14 through December 20. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, November 14 from 6 to 8 pm.
Raiselis’s new work is a puzzle. The subject matter is seemingly straight-forward: patches of sky, streets of traffic, green space, a harbor. But when painted from a place where even the simplest view is impossible to capture, they become a paradox. What’s real and what’s reflected? What’s in front of and what’s behind the painter? Raiselis depicts skyscrapers in a painting that’s hundreds of miniature abstractions within a single plane. It’s only when Raiselis paints a more conventional view, without reflections, that our eyes can rest and take stock of our whereabouts.
“Modern urban glass buildings disturb the window/wall dichotomy, and distort the visual field,” Raiselis says. “You see the glass wall, you see in, you see behind your head, you see yourself. Plato never imagined such a well-appointed cave. To portray this new subject, I have to stop looking the way we are all conditioned to look since childhood (Find Spot! Where’s Waldo?) Instead, I just consider shapes of color, their proportion and position, and I slowly build a wall of irregular colored bricks. When the colors are chosen with care, the wall begins to suggest transparency, and at best, to imply a familiar light and humidity, and a sense of a place we recognize.
“I work from direct observation because the unconscious works better that way. Working from life is like a conversation with a stranger. You’re not sure what you’re going to say. Working from our heads, the same convenient cliché is repeated over and over again. Looking without ruminating seems to yield more surprising, and ultimately more honest, results.
“I am learning not to over-think the process. I try to paint what I see. I can worry about the results at the end of the painting day. Baseball’s Yogi Berra asked, ‘How can you think and hit at the same time?’ His question is an invaluable bit of art coaching. Enjoy the game!”