ARTIST STATEMENT
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We live in a world inundated by an imagery riot. We are left with spectacles like Super Bowl Sunday, staggering millions of “selfies”, surveillance videos, 20-second self-promotion I phone clips, shared weather events, streaming of mass murder shootings, and sweet cat moments. The image-driven tsunami is crashing over us with a new reality all its own. We have made this feverish image-world and now it is re-making us in ways that are not yet clear. My work acknowledges this troubling image lock-down and asks how does one make authentic and novel work telling tied to the deepest form of human expression and be seen in in this blinding fog of digital control. After some years of frustration working undercover as a soldier in the mainstream media li]machine, I moved to work on the margins and began to look for ways to subvert the image system that rarely crashes.   It is a natural place of enormous creative freedom and possibilities. I find myself restlessly looking to find new forms of the narrative story telling. I hate the merely decorative, the superficial, pandering to an audience's stultifying expectations. I am looking to find new bold cinematic forms. My subjects are diverse including American culture, portraiture, landscape, dreams, essays, poetry, sacred art, fiction film, and the provocative interplay of language, text and image. I take delight in work that lives in a kind of purgatory between the poetic story, naive realism, essay, cinematic formalism, attention to color and form, and sound sound design. I want to make the viewer see the current real conditions of the world. I sometimes utilize appropriated imagery from advertising, historical archival, or naive You Tube videos (the powerful depersonalized “trash” imagery of the world) playing with the fetishism of image quality and contrasting it with sophisticated cinematography, ambitious sound design, calling into question notions of authorship and technical mastery. Sometimes, the work demonstrates little interest in completeness insisting on its imperfections to bond the art to the audience, yet at other times I work for hours adjusting the tiniest little detail to finalize a work. I want the viewer to look at the some of the work as both a final product and other work as something emerging, seemingly a contradiction. The starting point for me is finding provocative “enabling constraint” a provocative limitation that can yield enormous complexity. I give myself over to this creative emergence that allow for unexpected new forms to emerge. My desire to produce a work of visual inventiveness entirely made up of images that are so elaborately and personally fashioned that they seem handmade and feel inevitable and at the same time new. I hope the work can be to be used, contemplated and pondered, privately and slowly, bit by bit, like an object a book or a painting to be lived with. I am cautious with empty fascination with new technologies for technology sake – it is too often decorative, trendy and empty of the long march of art history.  I am a bit of classist and want my innovations and its new forms to come from pre existing forms --the  opera, the novel, poetry and the history of cinema. Ultimately my work look to show the empty spiritual vacuum left by left by the swing to naive realism, objective rationality and materialism. I am interested in the power of language and image joined together in an expansive way. In the larger pieces I want to create all-encompassing work of the provocateur, making spectacles out of modest means creating works that speak not only to the university and museum educated, but to make a true work of the people.Science has shown us that the observer and the universe are part of the same universe.  The artist who describes is part of the description. I want to make this clear in the work, allowing the hand of authorship and discovery to not hide behind an invisible wall of technical excellence. The style, form, and approach should be the human condition itself not only the mechanism design to describe it. - Richard Kroehling

 

 

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