Artist's Statement

One of the first thoughts that comes to mind when looking at a list of my precursors is that these art movements and artists belong to the "other tradition". By that I mean they are not in the "formalist" mainstream of modern art which has been dominant for the past century. The Romantic-Expressionist tradition that I find myself in begins for me with the Italian Mannerists. Other influences have been the Victorian paintings of such artists as Alma Tadema and Albert Moore, Art Nouveau, the Nabis (especially Bonnard) and Germanic and Eastern European artists such as Fuseli, Klinger, Kubin, Klimt and Schiele. The irrational, a capricious juxtaposition of narrative elements, escapism, a taste for the exotic,m an emphasis on technical facility and a preference for detail or units over a clear and luck whole are some of the characteristics binding my work to that of the movements I prefer. My initial training as a painter was as an abstract expressionist. From this I have retained their basic surrealist orientation. But in order to acquire the facility to paint illusions (realistic painting?) it was necessary for me to retrain myself by studying drawing and painting with an "old line" illustrator, Frank Riley, at the Art Students League. Because of this three year study of painting and drawing from the live model my paintings from photographs do not resemble those of most contemporary figurative artists whose schema for figurative painting is entirely derived from the two dimensional photography. Photography plays an important part in my work. However, it is an aspect of cinematic photography, specifically montage, that interests me most.

Richard Allan George – 1973