About the Artist

Chris Richter

Born, raised and educated in the fine arts in Texas, Chris Richter began working full time as a painter after a successful career in advertising, graphic design, and illustration. In his oil-on-panel abstractions, Richter, who has long been influenced by the landscape, is attempting to refer to nature without pictorial clues, even in the palette, that would tip off the viewer to this fact, since the resulting paintings are purely non-objective. He begins by building up layers of different colored paints, and then, after they've dried, sands the surfaces until he gets the vaporous pictorial elements he's aiming for. The paintings have a contemplative mood, though conceptually they mark a collision between the minimalist monochrome aesthetic and the expressionist forms that emerge after sanding. 

Richter's commercial art background has greatly influenced his compelling, carefully crafted works, which explore the humanity found in nature. He now lives and works in Laguna Beach. His work is shown in galleries in Santa Fe, Denver, Scottsdale, Corona Del Mar and Sun Valley, Idaho.

ARTIST STATEMENT: CHRIS RICHTER ON HUMAN NATURE

ARTIST STATEMENT: CHRIS RICHTER ON HUMAN NATURE

Chris Richter at work in his Laguna studio, March 2016.

I’m intrigued by the phrase 'human nature.' Many indigenous cultures believe the world is populated with spiritual powers that take the shape of animals and plants. In other words, there are many forms of intelligence, not just the human kind. Nature is primed to tell us intriguing, unimaginable and useful secrets. My work continually explores the humanity found in nature. Several years ago, during an early autumn snowstorm, the characteristic eyes of the aspen trees pulled me from my world and into theirs. Since spending time in that world I have come to realize that time of day, seasons, and various environmental conditions are vital in expressing that human condition. Through painting, I attempt to create what happens in nature when I’m not there to observe it.  My paintings are strong on color and technique and my conceptual approach is essential to the dramatic composition of every picture. When abstraction occurs, the deconstruction process of the painting and ultimately the subject matter itself becomes a statement about our own human impact on nature.

Many indigenous cultures believe that the world is populated with spiritual powers that take the shape of animals and plants. Nature is primed to tell us intriguing, unimaginable and useful secrets. I have always been intrigued by an idea that there is a human condition in nature, particularly revealing in the relationships that trees might have with one another. Whether it be nature’s own forces or the human forces that impact nature, they are often my source of inspiration and they open up opportunities for me to explore. Through my work and process, from beginning to end, I feel I have tapped into some of nature’s most inherent characteristics in developing my own visual language to engage with the viewer.

I began working full time as a painter in 2003, after a formidable career in advertising, graphic design and illustration. Making compelling, well-executed work is a reflection on how influential the commercial art experience has been on my fine art career. My conceptual approach, combined with a compelling color palette and painting process offers an unexpected look into nature’s mystery and intrigue. It is essential to the dramatic composition of every picture. Oftentimes the mere physicality of my work is seen as a statement about our impact on nature and the environments in which we live.

My work has been selected for The National Landscape Exhibition and several prestigious exhibitions at institutions including The Ucross Foundation, The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, The Harwood Museum and The Laguna Art Museum.

I currently live and work in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

— CHRIS RICHTER