Thursday, July 1, 2010

CLASSICAL REALIST


The history of Western European art records an uncompromising pursuit of excellence. The masters of each generation sought to perfect their art, then bequeathed their accumulated knowledge and expertise to the next generation. The accomplishments of one generation often set new standards of excellence for the next. Throughout the centuries there existed a generally recognized artistic standard. To differentiate this standard or tradition of excellence from others, we call it "classical realism".
Classical realism encompasses the highest principles of traditional representational art from the ancient Greeks to the present day. These principles include fine drawing, balanced design, harmonious colors and skillful craftsmanship. At its foundation is the representation of the visible world as seen through the trained eye of the artist. For centuries, the artist's craft and the ability to "see" were passed from master to pupil through the apprenticeship system. Ultimately, in 19th century France the atelier system developed, educating students in conjunction with the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
In 1989 a group of professional artists (whose link to classical realism comes from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts through William McGregor Paxton) formed The American Society of Classical Realism to preserve and promote this distinguished heritage. Because the 20th century art world has generally opposed traditional realism, these artists recognized the need for a national organization through which concerned individuals and corporations could support traditional representational art.
(Traditional Fine Art Online, Inc.)
Kirk Richards began his professional painting career in 1980 after studying four years with artist Richard Lack. Having received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and his Master of Arts degree from West Texas State University, he sought instruction in the traditional methods of the old masters, which was not available through the university. He discovered Richard Lack through the 1971 summer edition of American Artist magazine. Mr. Richards studied at Atelier Lack in Minneapolis from 1976—1980….. Understanding the difficulty aspiring students have in acquiring a competent training in painting and drawing, Kirk opened his own atelier, modeled after Atelier Lack. Richards’ atelier operated from 1982 until 1988 in Amarillo, Texas…..
Mr. Richards has achieved much success as a painter of portraits, still life, and “imaginative” paintings (religious, symbolic, allegorical, etc.) As a result, his work has been included in many prestigious exhibitions, publications, and catalogs. These include exhibitions at Sotheby’s, Three exhibits at the Newington Cropsey Foundation in Hastings on Hudson, NY, with a fourth scheduled for 2010,The American Artist Professional League in NY, The Boston Guild, and the Springville Museum of Art to name a few. He has participated in many traveling exhibits including: East Coast Concepts, West Coast Ideals, a collaborative exhibit of the California Art Club and the Guild members of the American Society of Classical Realism; Classical Realism, the Other 20th Century; Painters of Light; and The Boston School, America’s Premiere Realists. Juried exhibitions include several Grand National exhibits with the American Artist Professional League, National Spring Salon exhibits at the Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah, the Deposit Guaranty Salon International exhibit in Jackson, Mississippi, and many others…..
(GANDY GALLERY)


The Conversation
Oil on canvas, 1987
Elizabeth Patterson
From ARC


James Setapen, 1994
Director of the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra
Image © Kirk Richards
Scan © Gandy Gallery


Mary Jane Johnson, 1994
Soprano, Metropolitan Opera
Image © Kirk Richards
Scan © Gandy Gallery


Starting a New Ristra
Oil on canvas, 1995
Arthur Rudy / Paulette Kendler
From ARC


Sun Kissed
Oil on canvas, 1996
Private collection
From ARC


Blue Corn
Oil on canvas, 1996
Private collection
From ARC


Once Noble
Oil on canvas, 1999
Mr and Mrs John Stevenson
From ARC


Flowers and Lace
Oil on canvas, 1999
Private collection
From ARC


Lisianthus
Oil on canvas, 1999
Mr and Mrs Mark Christy
From ARC


Mixed Bouqet in a Blue Danube Vase
Oil on canvas, 2001
Private collection
From ARC


Carnations and Chocolates
Oil on canvas, 2002
Private collection
From ARC


Mixed Bouquet
Oil on canvas, 2003
Private collection
From ARC


“My parents were very practical people from a part of the Texas panhandle where art was not considered a practical endeavor. My dad was a lawyer and could have helped me in almost any other career choice. When at an early age I began to show a keen interest in painting and drawing, and when later it became apparent that art was to be my career…..” - Kirk Richards, Amarillo, Texas, November 2003.
Well known for his still life and genre paintings, in 1984, Richards was one of only 24 artists nationwide to be certified by the American Portrait Society and has painted many of Amarillo’s noted citizens including James Setapen, director of the Amarillo Symphony, operatic soprano Mary Jane Johnson, Dr. James Rauscher, chairman of the music department at Amarillo College, Sister Olivia Prendergast, founder of Saint Anthony’s Hospice, and the late Metropolitan Opera tenor, Timothy Jenkins…..
(Art Renewal Center Articles about Kirk Richards)
Kirk was selected from over 1000 entrants as one of ten finalists in the 2004 American Society of Portrait Artists international competition, and in 2004 was given a one man exhibition at the Amarillo Museum of Art entitled “Kirk Richards, Classical Realist.” He was one of only 24 artists ever to be certified for the American Portrait Society, has held membership in the American Artist Professional League, and was the only artist to be added to the roster of the original “Full Guild” of the American Society of Classical Realism (ASCR).
(GANDY GALLERY)
Guild members of ASCR:
•Are dedicated to the belief that only creativity grounded in discipline and years of intensive training, built on a rigorous and comprehensive knowledge of the past, can produce genius and the masterpieces of tomorrow.
•Are rooted to the conviction that fine art is, first and foremost, about life: and most specifically about the dignity, beauty, comedy, tragedy, romance, fantasy, pride, and nobility of the human spirit; and all those precious and powerful emotions that form and define the human experience.
•Believe that the core of great art is the emotional thrust, but that art only achieves greatness when the elements of the craft -- drawing, composition, modeling, perspective, design and color -- are brought together to support, enhance and intensify that emotion.
(Traditional Fine Art Online, Inc.)



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