Paintings by Richard Whitten
Paintings on wooden boards constructed into various shapes reminiscent of 15th century Dutch triptychs. The compositions are filled with allegorical references and the architectural spaces and objects create a sense of mystery and disorientation. A common motif often used in the paintings is the cycle: orbiting planets, spinning gears, and cats chasing mice.
One recurring theme I have in my dreams deals with the discovery of hidden beautiful architectural spaces. In these dreams, I see unknown buildings or hidden passages from building to building. In the dream, I make efforts to get to them and explore them. Sometimes, I can explore them in the same dream. Sometimes, I find them again in another dream—years later. My paintings imply the existence of places and of objects of desire that, like the garden in Alice in Wonderland, can be glimpsed but not reached or acquired. It was once suggested to me that my paintings looked like they were painted from memory. This suggests that the imagination is, perhaps, memory in reverse. I am curious about the nature of the conceptual transformation that occurs when places and things are represented as an image. They seem to become heightened in importance – perhaps transformed into an ideal, a memory, or a desire. One must ask: is the experience of “seeing and wanting” superior to “having”?