Richard Heinsohn -- Artist Statement
My work has evolved through a number of periods which have all come from a place of empathy, a reflection on our world and a fascination with the myriad of unknown and unexplained phenomena surrounding us.
These recent paintings invite viewers to participate in the formulation of perceived images. I call this work Relational Abstraction because the nature of the abstract forms and spaces allows viewers to employ their imaginations and make associations particular to their own psyches. Such were the ambitions of Gordon Onslow Ford, Wolfgang Paalen, Roberto Matta and others working as abstract surrealists in the period between 1939 and 1945.
This work is a twenty first century continuum of abstract surrealism and builds on the notion that art can only enlighten society if it elevates consciousness by stimulating the imagination. Amidst the morass of upheaval, disaster and uncertainty we now experience globally, to address humanity's tendency towards materialism, divisiveness and disillusionment by psychic stimulus seems far more plausible than choosing subject matter from among the many symptoms of its decline. Today's high speed distribution of information and misinformation greatly impairs our collective ability to think critically and respond with sensitivity to injustice and calamity.
Art that functions as a platform for imaginative discovery can play a significant role in encouraging viewers to embrace empathy as well as creative and critical thinking. The more we consider the vastness of unknown realities, the more we perceive ourselves as one unified world.
For a painting to be art it must organically convey sensations of enigma and elements of discovery. To create these experiences within the paintings, I employ a predominantly intuitive and gestural approach, yielding to internal impulses while maintaining a concentration which bypasses cognition. The more inadvertent or incidental the abstract elements are, the more surprising and invigorating to the viewers’ imaginations when specific images do become manifest. It is this delicate and teetering balance between form and field, between animated entities and mere configurations of color, form and space, that allows viewers to complete the context by deriving content in their own minds.
As paintings that invite the viewers in to make personalized discoveries, many interpretations on various levels can co-exist and contribute to the shared art experience.
Richard Heinsohn 2018
For more on Relational Abstraction, click on: Selected Writing