Gordon Richards

A Long Hot Summer

December 4 - December 16 2010

Gordon Richards celebrates the simple pleasures in works of art that bring visual delight to the viewer. Inspiration for his latest body of work first surfaced in fond reminiscences of his 'Noosa years'. Back in the '90's, that seaside playground had been the place where he'd famously exchanged his chef's cap and kitchen utensils for the proverbial artist's beret and paintbrushes. Richards' new career path proved to be an exciting creative outlet and ultimately, an enormously successful venture.

Now Sydney-based for the past 10 years, Richards has more recently established a studio retreat in the NSW Southern Highlands. He tells of painting there last summer during a sweltering heat wave and longing for the relief of faraway coastal breezes. It summoned visions of Noosa's sandy beaches and sparkling waters. He remembered a carefree lifestyle; lolling in a little dinghy in the river, balmy evenings filled with merriment and sumptuous seafood dinners - the wine always flowing.

A trip back to Noosa and the locale of the venue for his forthcoming exhibition kindled Richards' resolve to capture in paint those glorious, Dionysian days. With titles like Summer Holiday Romance, Summer Breeze and Water Restrictions, the works in the resultant series express the sensations and experiences of a long hot summer. His acrylics on linen and charcoal studies feature familiar characters who hose themselves and flowering shrubs or lie recumbent in a little wooden boat, hands and feet dangling into cool waters to escape the scorching temperature. Conversely, other paintings show saucy sunbathers in stripy costumes and beach towels, positively revelling in the seasonal heat.

Aside from the light-hearted hedonism of such imagery, Richards also expresses 'joie de vivre' through tactile, sensuous surfaces that scintillate with refracted light. His painterly approach is one of immediacy and verve, for bygone times in busy restaurants have taught him to work fast and spontaneously. Eccentric perspectives and exaggerated forms intensify the mood of gaiety. Radiant in their layerings of rich colour, the paintings seem a declaration of personal freedom. We want to participate in the exuberance with which Richards embraces life and all that makes it worth living.

» Back to previous page