Ric Abel WTF Cubist Still Life
4 -24 Apr 2022
With a sideways glance at French Cubism, Ric Abel explores and reinterprets its Modernist aesthetic
On the studio walls hangs Ric Abel’s exquisite Mother and Child; a perfectly resolved tiny work. A quasi-cubist rendition of the Madonna on the cross with a clinging baby at her breast, painted some ten, maybe fifteen years ago. Cubism runs strong in Abel’s blood, although its influence is not always conspicuously obvious in his finished work.
In WTF Cubist Still Life, Ric Abel comes back full circle in a direct examination and reinterpretation of the work of French artist: Georges Braque.
In the early twentieth century, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were moving away from traditional representation. Influenced by Paul Cézanne, both artists were independently exploring the geometric representation and simultaneous viewpoints that came to be known as Cubism.
Picasso, of course, became one of history’s most famous artists (with many believing he was the sole inventor of Cubism) while Braque’s name never made it into the general vernacular (even though it was Braque’s 1908 L’Estaque landscapes that inspired the first use of the term Cubism by the art critic Louis Vauxcelles). In those early days of Analytical Cubism their new cubist work was virtually indistinguishable, yet Picasso became much more celebrated.
Braque was the underdog; and Abel loves to champion the underdog. Abel explains that these works refer back to the typically French, quiet elegance of Braque’s later style, rather than the more flamboyant Spanish flourishes of Picasso.
Abel’s interpretation is loose and bold. Displaying shallow space and recurrent still life motifs typical of Braque, Abel's quasi cubist art is alive with energy and colour.
The predominant green used in Bocal aux Poissons I could have been lifted directly from Braque’s palette when painting Still Life on a Mantelpiece (circa 1923), yet Abel’s artwork invariably includes hits of striking orange and red and heavy prominent airbrushed graphic lines — a contemporary choice that brings this work squarely into the twenty-first century.
This is something new — a delectable entwining of the subject matter, the contemporary artist, and his Modernist inspiration.
— Cat Doyle, April 22
Saturday 4 April – Sunday 24 April 2022
Spud Lane Studios, U1/74-76 Hoddle Street, Robertson NSW 2577
Friday to Monday, 10am–4pm
DOWNLOAD THE CATALOGUE
Saturday 2 April, 1.30pm
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
A finalist in the Blake Art Prize and the Archibald’s Salon des Refusés, Ric Abel travels through landscapes, skulls and quasi-cubist subjects. His art is introspective and exploratory, humorous and dark.
Ric Abel's next exhibition: Triffids will be held in the gallery in 2023.