RICHARD J. DIEDRICH, FAIA

 

 

Artist/Architect – Atlanta, Georgia

Signature Member – Georgia Watercolor Society

 

Artist’s Statement

The focus of my painting is a series entitled:  “Man on the Edge”


It is an expression of man’s affinity toward settling where the water meets the land, whether it be a lakefront, seashore, or urban waterfront.

 

REPRESENTED BY:

 

Joel Shapses Studio Gallery

Naples, FL

 

Burton Gallery                      

Burton Dam Rd at 197

Clarkesville, GA 30523

706.947.1351  

www.burtongallery.net              

 

Dogwood Gallery

1175 Senor Road North                        

Tyrone, GA 30290

770.774.3424

www.dogwoodgallery.net     

                                   

 

Exhibitions:  Juried Group Exhibitions

 

ArtCAN 2012, 2013

Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

 

Fine Arts Workshop

Fall Exhibit 2012, 2013,2014

Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA                       

 

Architects as Artists - 2011

Swan Coach House Gallery, Atlanta, GA

 

The Quinlan Visual Arts Center

Annual Members Exhibition 1996-2012

Mixed media exhibit

2012 Exhibit

Teresa Osborn, Judge

 

2008 Exhibit Best of Show Painting

William Underwood Eiland, Director, The Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA

 

Georgia Watercolor Society Exhibitions  

2013 Signature Exhibition

Johns Creek Art Center, Johns Creek, GA
 

2012 Members Exhibition

Chris Krupinski, Judge

Mable House Arts Center, Mableton, GA

 

2012 Signature Exhibition

Johnsons Creek Art Center, Johns Creek, GA

 

2011 National Exhibition

Christopher Schink, Judge

Carrollton Cultural Arts Center, Carrollton, GA
 

2010 Members Exhibition

Linda Baker, Judge

Quinlan Visual Arts Center, Gainesville, GA

 

 

 

Solo Exhibitions

 

Francois Plantation

2002, 2000, 1998, 1997

Colombier, St. Barthelemy

French West Indies

 

Education

 

Fine Arts Workshop 2012-2013

King Plow Center, Atlanta, GA

Instructor: Michael David

 

Intensive Studies Seminar

Taos, NM

Nine annual sessions between 2003-2015

Instructors:

K. Chang Liu                       

A. Powers

F. Larsen                       

C. Shink

S. Lawrence

 

University of Illinois

College of Fine Arts

Champaign, IL

Painting Instructor:  Louise Woodruff

 

Ecole d’Art Americaines

Fontainebleau, France

Margaret T. Biddle Scholarship

Diploma

 

University of Illinois

Champaign, Illinois

Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture

ABOUT THE ARTIST

 

Man on the Edge

 

In Diedrich’s process, the medium is the message: poured paint creates edges much as a body of water etches its shore.  Flow patterns of water-born pigment form the currents in a microcosm of the sea.  Man leaves his mark.

 

In the beginning of this decade-long series of paintings, the artist was immersed in the setting of a North Georgia mountain lake.  Trained as an architect, he focused on the necklace of architectural artifacts that was formed by man in his natural affinity to settling along the water’s edge.  Fascinated, he began to paint the phenomenon, initially realistically in traditional watercolor, rendering the setting of mountain, lake, and sky accented with architectural elements of houses and marine structures lining the shore.  Feeling that his audience “didn’t get it”, over a period of years, he began to eliminate superfluous content that didn’t contribute to the message.  First to go was the sky, then the mountains, architectural elements became simple geometric shapes.  He tried representing man’s affinity in two views, however, an eye-level with the line of the horizon evolving at the edge into man’s domain and an aerial, showing the juxtaposition of the geometric pattern of man’s settlement with the natural pattern of flow of the body of water.  Until this point, the artist worked with brush and paper, although the field of color representing water might be created through repetitive glazes soaking the paper with a large wash brush.  Eventually, however, three things happened that were an epiphany for the artist:

 

    •    Stretched watercolor canvas became available which, contrary to paper, presented a

         flat, tiltable surface upon which the paint would flow rather than be absorbed

 

    •    Rather than brushed-on, paint would be poured, representing the content in its flow.

 

    •    The artist realized, “it’s the water, stupid”, recognizing that the focus of man and as a

         result, the painting is the body of water.

 

The water became a dominating color field and the line of the horizon.  Man became the pattern of his need to master the bodies of water, lines of latitude and longitude, channel markers and flight paths.

 

Continued pruning has searched for the essence of content, however.  Poured paint flows as the color field, forming the body of water and the edge; man is the artist’s gesture delineating the line of the horizon.

Richard Diedrich’s Man on The Edge

 

In Richard Diedrich’s large scale, luminous watercolors on canvas, he extends the disciplines of water color painting and color field painting by taking the scale and process of each idiom to the edge of each genre’s precedents.

 

‘Color Field' painting is a style of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. It was inspired by European modernism and closely related to Abstract Expressionism. Color Field is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color, spread across or stained into the canvas creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favor of an overall consistency of form and process. In color field painting (according to Wikipedia), "color is freed from objective context and becomes the subject in itself."

 

 At first glance it’s easy to locate Diedrich within the color field genalogy of Frankenthaler’s “Mountain and Sea”, Morris Louis Veils, and Paul Jenkins' early stain paintings. They share the process of combining the pouring of paint as pure liquid and intense color, on raw or (with minimal under painting) linen or canvas. Each of these modern masters arrives at different places because of their different intentionalities. Frankenthaler, I believe, extends the language of Turner and landscape painting, Louis extends the gesture and “act” of painting stated as empirical by Pollack and the luminosity via the Transparent Color sensation of Rothko, and Jenkins the intimacy of the most delicately jewel-like of Indian Mughal Painting.

 

Diedrich, I pose, intentionally or unintentionally continues and extends the language of color field painting by adding an element of personal psychological content. For Diedrich, I believe there is a deep emotive attempt at reconciliation between his discipline as an architect for 40 years and the desire, “not to think, not to control, to be free.” I think the challenge to Diedrich is to rebel against his natural tendency to “control” a discipline honed as an architect, by his unprecedented use of a water color on this scale, and his love of gesture and pure color. There is a literal coming to a “psychological and personal edge” which he has added to the lexicon of color field painting.

 

In conversations about this series Man on the Edge, Diedrich talks about his love of the sea, going to lakeshores when he was young and how man and civilizations organize around the shore. I believe these paintings are a deep intuitive mapping of that collective organizing principle as well as his aforementioned desire to resolve problems to a greater understanding of the risks that come with freedom, release and abandon.

 

The series Man on the Edge may have started as literal expression and mapping of where water meets the shore; beautifully actualized by Diedrich’s process, in which he pours liquid “water/color”, using tape, frisket, even the seams of the panels, one against the other to create edges, and where exquisitely intimate passages and transitions  pool and recede at the edges after they unfurl, sometimes wash away and reveal themselves and the passage of time and topography in transparent veils of color sensation and gesture. But I think in the end this process, this exploration has led Diedrich to a deeper, richer sense of place, beyond the abstract quotation of landscape, or the quotation of an abstract theoretical painting practice, but to  a place where each artist weighs what they will risk losing  in order to learn more about themselves and  thereby revealing  a sense of place, personal and collective that we may enter and join in.

 

- Michael David  2013