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 Richard Aber  (1948 - )

About: Richard Aber
 

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: conceptual installations and filmmaking

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Richard Aber
An example of work by Richard Aber
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted in June of 2006 by the artist:

Richard Aber has been working in the visual arts since the mid-1960s.   He is best known for installations that  physically manifest his personal exploration of various philosophical tenets.  This is reflected in works of various sizes and mediums, some in saturated color and others in refined neutrality, always skillfully executed, and often containing deceptive layers of complexity for those who care to investigate. 

Richard grew up in a creative environment that introduced him to painting, sculpture, and architecture at an early age.  His father was born in New York City, of German-Scottish descent.  His mother was born in Romania and immigrated to New York when she was a child.  They both aspired to be artists and met at the Art Students League in the 1930s.  During the war they moved to California, where Richard was born in Los Angeles in 1948.  His father introduced him to theosophy and the Eastern mystical traditions when he was in his teens,  which led to a lifelong interest in the comparative aspects of Eastern and Western philosophical thought. 

Upon entering college Richard shifted his emphasis from painting and sculpture to filmmaking, and then back to sculpture, which in retrospect seems to have formed the way in which he approaches his artistic production.  That is to say, the overall arc in the body of his work tends to relate more to filmmaking's project orientation rather than consistent with the development of a signature style in one medium.  Conceptually speaking, he feels compelled to be more inclusive, while maintaining an aesthetically reductive sensibility, and finds the use of polemics helpful in defining his work relative to the human condition.   Art is more than artifice for Richard; it is a way to find one's self and one's connection with humanity and the universe.  He feels that as science deals with the nature of reality, art shows us what is unquantifiable.  

After graduating from the University he was offered an exhibition at the Newport Harbor Art Museum, where he installed the large wood construction WP 6-10-76 (Newport Wall).   In 1977 Richard moved to Santa Barbara and began work on an exhibition for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which took place in 1978.  By the mid- 1980s he had received a National Endowment Fellowship and placed high in the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Competition, and had an established presence in a local gallery that continued after it later moved to New York.  The 1980s also brought about collaborations with Helen and Newton Harrison, and then with Garner Tullis for a series of monotypes.  Both involvements resulted in exhibitions of work either in New York and/or Europe.

Living in Santa Barbara afforded Richard the opportunity to build his home and studio, on which he worked over a ten-year period.  During this time his work began to shift away from the sculptural object and into painting and proposals for architectural spaces, while he continued to reduce his forms into the symbolic Burners of the mid-1990s.  Painting, for Richard, was a release from the physical world.  Gravity  was gone and he could explore the internal mindscape.  He continued to work on  paintings until 2001 and the World Trade Center attacks, which had a profound affect on us all for various reasons.  The conquest of one over the other, good over evil, and the vulnerability one feels in the face of the unknown, brings us to his recent work.   Richard is currently  developing a project that addresses the nature of conflict --  how one is effected by outside forces, and the internal struggle that is the result --through a combination of depictions of figurative forms shown at their most vulnerable, and nonobjective works that are symbolic of our intellect and our quest for substance.  The project addresses issues that Richard feels continue to confront us as we push outward while still not coming to terms with the need to go inward. You can view examples of the recent works plus a archive dating back to 1969 at: http://www.richardaber.com

 Museums:  Bowers Museum,  Santa Ana,CA, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach,CA Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland,CA, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach,CA, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara,CA  Periodicals: Art in America, June 1989, review by Walter Thompson 

Awards: Honorable Mention, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington DC; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship 

Group Exhibitions: 
2006 Santa Barbara County Art Gallery, CA "The Berry Berkus And Family Art Collection" 
2005 "The Figured Obscured;"  2001 "Out Of Line" 
1997 Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA; "Multiplicities" Riverside Art Museum, Riverside,CA; "Abstractions: New Work From Santa Barbara" Ventura College Art Gallery, Ventura , CA Richard Aber: Sculpture/Jane Bergunder: Drawing                      
1991 Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum,Santa Barbara,CA  "Active Presences;"  Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA, "Santa Barbara Artists" 1990 University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, "Contemporary Sculpture: The Berkus Collection"
1987  Grey Gallery, New York University, N.Y. "Santa Barbara Sites" 
1985  Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, "Inaugural Exhibition Of  The Park Wing" 
1983  Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA "Black On Black"                  
1982  Japanese-American Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA "An Artist Living Space;" Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, Claremont, CA "Contemporary Triptychs"              1981  Ohio State University, Columbus, Oh "Artist As Architect/Architect As Artist"      1980  Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA "Art Since 1950;" 
1978  "Aber/Edge/Fine"                   
1976  Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA "Aber/Buchanan/Holste" 1975  Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, CA "5 Galleries Of Orange County"                  



Biography from Edward Cella Art+Architecture:
Richard Aber lives in Southern California and has been working in the visual arts since the mid-1960's.  He grew up in a creative environment where he was introduced to painting, sculpture, and architecture at an early age.

Upon entering college, he shifted his emphasis to filmmaking, and in graduate school developed an interest in sculpture.  He earned both his B.A. and M.A. from California State University, Fullerton.

Aber 's work is not narrowed to one stylistic approach, and favors a position of "artist as curator" over one singular vision.  What may appear to be a multifarious portfolio could be viewed as cohesive in totality, a result of a natural inquiry that unfolded and allowed for a deeper and more complex conceptual presentation.

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