Artist Statement

Richard Motchman

I once read a book on aesthetics that discussed the notion that “painting” is different from the other arts such as music, drama and literature. The defined distinction was that the latter, by their nature, require time as an essential component. In contrast, paintings, can potentially be seen at a single glance in one strong image. I have been inspired by this distinction to create interactive paintings which are impossible to fully see in a moment so have the component of time also built into them, as well as movement and touch.

I create paintings that the viewer physically interacts with to alter the painting’s imagery, so that the viewer becomes my collaborator at the end of the art making as the model was a collaborator at the beginning. Figures wear masks with handles so they can be opened and closed or handles project down from the bottom of the paintings and viewers twist them to rotate inset triangular columns and so alter the iconography of the paintings. This is deliberately very simple technology to hopefully lessen barriers, and deepen the connections, to the paintings. The purpose of these paintings is for the viewer to connect with the people who posed and with the paintings as objects as the viewers make decisions around the imagery as they “play” with the paintings.  

Richard Motchman