Willy Bo Richardson

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“I used the vertical strokes because they had a neutral behavior - they allowed me to look at the colors and proportions without thinking of the pictorial space or abstractions of objects.” - Willy Bo Richardson

Willy Bo Richardson

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

WILLY BO RICHARDSON’s syncopating bands of color invite us to ponder the mysterious significance of opacity, translucency, color interactions, and the distinct character of blurred or hard edges in his non-objective oil paintings. Each work is simultaneously complete while also drawing us into particular moments with engrossing passages of blended color and abrupt dislocations of contrasting hues. Regarding his paintings, Willy shares, “I used the vertical strokes because they had a neutral behavior - they allowed me to look at the colors and proportions without thinking of the pictorial space or abstractions of objects.”

These paintings continue a conversation begun by a rich lineage of modern twentieth century painters, including Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, and Hans Hoffman among others, who explore the emotive and spatial qualities of the formal visual elements of line, shape, and color. Writing on this aspect of Willy’s paintings, Katy Croker, independent writer and curator, relates, “Regarding Willy’s art is deceptively pleasurable - something like the silence before a crescendo. Formal elements reduce to their essences, and color dominates each composition. Vertical lines, which serve as formal strictures for Willy’s work, allow color to excel. The lines are the control group, and the color is then free to variably play.”

Despite the analogy to stripes or bars, Willy’s work and subject is expansive and even elusive. A saturated red brushstroke, surrounded by neutral, thin color, pushes out of the painting. Our senses are intrigued in numerous ways - there is a pulsing of time, oscillating volume, physically heavy and light weights, and deep and shallow space. He is alert to the push/pull theory of abstract expressionist painter Hans Hoffman, whose work developed a nuanced awareness of color space and to the musical translations of Kandinsky’s interplay or mark, palette, and shape, wherein musical scores were transposed into a visual language.

The expression of barriers and releases can also be attributed to these largely smooth surfaces of oil or watercolor on canvas or paper. Stephanie Buhmann, in an independent essay on Willy’s work, summarizes, “Willy Bo Richardson’s work looks inward. His abstract paintings are about experience, some of them abstract and others abstracted through memory. The space he investigates is without boundaries. It is timeless.”

Willy received his MFA from Pratt in New York City, BA in Painting from the University of Texas, Austin and taught painting at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, NM. His paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally and are featured in many corporate collections.