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Artist Details

Richard Rizzo

Richard Rizzo

Richard Rizzo was born in 1979, in the city of York, and now resides in Toronto. He received his Master of Fine Arts specializing in Painting from the University of Waterloo.
Richard is also the recipient of the Win Shantz Internship Scholarship. Richard works as Contract Faculty for York University in the Visual Arts and Social Sciences departments.

Artist Statement

The work in this exhibition is the result of philosophical contemplation and the concepts that followed from these moments. In this current body of work, I mediated on the idea of identity, memory and the frailty of the human condition. I also incorporated the idea of discovery and play into my practice while sticking to the parameters I set for myself of simply pouring paint on a surface. I played with how the paint came to rest, either by logical and calculated means, or by hanging the painting upside down, or by allowing it to dry for some time, but before it dried completely, I would disturb the painting to see its reaction. Through the materiality and physicality of paint, I explore these moments. Paint thus acts as a metaphor for my body and mind, having set parameters that dictate its cause and effect. The very nature of painting; its essence, is the moment of state change from a fluid material into a solid state.

My painting practice is divided into four main parts: Inspiration, Material, Philosophy, and the Parameters, all of which are important to contextualizing my work within contemporary art. The inspiration for my work originates with the materiality and physicality of the medium of paint. Acrylic paint has boundaries that are inherent within its physical makeup. I intend to highlight the moment of state change in the material of acrylic paint from its original state of a fluid to its state change into a solid. The manner in which I apply paint is also of great interest to me because it symbolizes the intrinsic qualities in the makeup of the material and process, which I use. The properties of nature include the play of forces that interact with my processes that I used to create this body of work (forces such as wind, gravity, and time).

In contemplating my contributions to the discourse of painting, I became interested in Schopenhauer’s ideas regarding the nature of the will and object. In Schopenhauer’s work, The World as Will and Representation, he argues that the will is separate from object and that the will desires to be separate. This idea proposes that the body is an object while the inner mind or soul would be defined as the will. When I applied this notion to my painting practice I realized that the idea behind the created work of art was separate from the art object itself. The intent and impression of a work of art can have many different interpretations and a myriad of meanings, depending on who is viewing the work. This relative approach to the multiplicity of meaning led me to ponder what painting meant to me and how I could relate to it. Through this research I realized that in all paintings there must be a binder and a pigment, and through the manipulation of paint on a ground with the use of ideas and gestures it all comes to rest. In that moment of rest, in that exact moment when the fluid nature of paint begins to change state from a liquid into a solid, is for me the essence of painting.