Tangerines in a Hurricane Vase
acrylic on hardboard
$ 850.

Storm Brewing in the Teacup on Downton Abbey
acrylic on hardboard
$ 1100.


 

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Alvin Richard

Statement: Art for a World Gone Mad -September 2016

"In my still life painting, entitled “Storm Brewing in a Tea Cup on Downton Abbey”, I chose to document aspects of the critically acclaimed British television series and draw a parallel by allowing us to appreciate how much the world has indeed changed in the past century for the betterment of humanity in most instances.

Downton Abbey chronicles the life of the aristocratic Crawley family (1912 – 1925) and exposes the lavish lifestyle of a disappearing elite class and the relationships they entertain with their many servants. But all is not so rosy at the Yorkshire castle. The main story line centers around the heir and descendants of the Earl of Grantham with their on-going struggles to financially sustain the domain as they meet the challenges of the modern world.

The world in which we currently live in is fast paced and in a state of constant evolution. Much can be said about violence in its many forms, but many historians suggest that we are actually living in the most peaceful period of the past 500 years. The world economy, religious beliefs, the oil industry, control and power does rule the planet at this point and time. Terrorism, drugs, gun control, poverty, corruption, unemployment, politics of fear and division, global warming are some of the current issues we are faced with in 2016. It's easy to get overwhelm with the state of the world when we are constantly being bombarded by the media to a point where we become desensitized in order to cope. While it is easy to reflect on the past when life appeared simpler, except it is not always true. But one shouldn't lose hope because there is still a whole lot of goodness in the world today.
As a painter, a great deal of my artwork does document aspect of popular and mass culture. I do try to put a positive spin in the imagery. I've occasionally done paintings reflecting on the economy or political climate by using a Monopoly Game board as a prop, which in turn becomes a form of symbolism. I am not turning a blind-eye on all that is happening in the world today. We live in a world where we have to adapt in order to strive and move forward. We also need to take time for ourselves by taking care of our body, mind and spirit. I believe in the laws of Karma and try to do good, show gratitude, compassion and respect towards others.

With “Storm Brewing in a Tea Cup on Downton Abbey”, I've place a tea cup on top of a book that holds imagery detailing the work achieved behind the scenes with set decoration, costume and hair design, in recreating authenticity while filming the series at Highclere Castle. It's a serial where happiness is fleeting for most characters and the daily ritual of drinking tea is often the only constant they can rely on. Even while in the trenches of WWI, Thomas Barrow is serving tea to Matthew Crawley steeped from a cooking pot over a campfire. I leave you with words of wisdom from the matriarch of the Crawley family, Lady Grantham, brilliantly played by Maggie Smith.
''Just the ticket. Nanny always said, ‘Sweet tea is the thing for frayed nerves’ ''
from Season 1, episode 3.

 

Alvin Richard is a natural talent. His approach to his work is simple and sensitive. Whether it is the gentle play of light on a still life subject or the relationship he has with his model (often his family), he carefully builds his paintings to give the viewer some insight into his life. A solo exhibition entitled, “Primary Light” was featured at Fog Forest Gallery from September 10 - 23, 2004.

He states, “I am continuing my pursuit to document part of my own experience of life. To study elements of observation in my immediate and more enlarge surroundings. Being a registered nurse since the age of 20, and having cared for patients afflicted with all kinds of illnesses - acute, chronic or terminal; you do get to realize on a different level how fragile and precious the gifts of health and life are, and how quickly it can be taken away. Therefore, being quite conscious of that fact, I have greatly benefited from this on my own personal journey. American artist George Tooker reminds us, “Painting is an attempt to come to terms with life. There are as many solutions as there are human beings.” Whether it is art imitating life or life imitating art, my way to truly celebrate life is to paint these images of daily occurrances, which I share with my wife Suzanne - also a nurse, and our young son, Jean-Luc. My wish is to create images that will help one stop and appreciate moments of ordinary life that we may just take for granted, and to be conscious and thankful for all that we have.

His paintings have been collected across Canada. Alvin is an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. His works have been included in group exhibitions in New York, Vancouver, and Baltimore Maryland.