New York painter Richard Pantell captures an alternative reality in his luminous oil paintings. Learn more about this artist by visiting his website.
“Memorial Day” oil on canvas, 40” x 50”
I grew up in The Bronx where I had immediate access to the great museums of Manhattan at a time when most had free admission. Coming from a family of limited means, I never felt a lack of cultural access.
“After a Long Day” oil on canvas, 40” x 50”
Beginning oil painting at age ten, I knew what I wanted to do. My college art experience was not a good one, as my professors were pushing color field painting which I did not relate to. I left after two years, totally discouraged with art, and rambled around the country with a guitar.
“Summer Twilight” oil on canvas, 50” x 40”
A few years later while performing in a saloon in Idaho, it occurred to me that I wanted to paint. I returned to New York City and enrolled at The Art Students League. It was there that I regained my artistic voice and direction. I had a wonderful experience at The League being trained by working professionals amid a community of folks who spoke the same artistic language. I continue this experience today, having been an instructor there for the past twenty-three years.
“Sleeping Paleontologist” oil on canvas, 24” x 36”
I’ve had many influences such as artists Da Vinci, Rembrandt, the Barbizon painters (especially Millet), the Ashcan Painters, Marsh, Soyer, Tooker, late 19th century Scandinavian artists and German expressionists of the 1920s. Writers such as Thoreau and Kafka, as well as musicians such as Schubert, The Weavers, The Beatles, Neil Young, Tom Waits, and current events all contribute to the art that I make today.
“The Light” oil on canvas, 24” x 30”
I use realism as a tool rather than as an end in itself. My goal is to present a reality that exists only on the canvas. I may or may not use models, and the environments in which I place them are usually invented or reworked from sketches.
“Crossing Over” oil on canvas, 60” x 40”
My earlier works were usually images of cityscapes and the New York City subway. The subway interested me because there was distance in space and in time. From any station, one could travel anywhere. That station would also contain century-old mosaics covered with recent graffiti. There would be just one small figure in the work, and that figure would always be the star of the piece.
“Starlite Motel” oil on canvas, 40” x 50”
In recent years I’ve zoomed in on the figure, who now dominates the canvas surface. I am currently painting a series of single bathers, often the same woman, and casting her into a multitude of environments and situations. Some of these paintings have a touch of social realism, some are serene, and some are disturbing.
“Solitude” oil on canvas, 40” x 50”
I have a passion for using oil paint on lead-primed linen. I apply the old technique of oil glazing due to its amazing luminosity, depth and coloring possibilities. I learned the technique from old books, centuries old incomplete paintings, and by experimentation.
“Patriots” oil on canvas, 40” x 50”
I begin with a dry toned canvas, building up a monochromatic underpainting, and add layers of transparent colors, sometimes applying colors followed by layers of the opposite color.
“When You Don’t Know Whether to Laugh or Cry, Just Laugh” oil on canvas, 40” x 50”
As far as I’m concerned, life experience is essential to making art. I’ve never followed current artistic trends and in recent years I rarely visit museums and galleries. I’ve made a sort of self-exile into the studio where I can follow my personal ideas and vision. This is the best way that I can artistically breathe and function.
Artist Richard Pantell invites you to follow him on Instagram and Facebook.
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