Richard Garrison

RGAR self portrait in the studio
Having received training and gained experience in a variety of areas, including carpentry, computer operations, forestry, merchandise distribution, cabinet making, dry cleaning service, cooking, dishwashing, anthropology, and picture framing, Garrison focused on the visual arts in 1980. He attended North Carolina State University where he was able to take many courses at the School of Design, before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Visual Arts. He received his BFA there in 1985, and attended a year of graduate school in Art Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He taught high school art for six years, while beginning to show, sell, and win numerous awards and grants for his work.

Since becoming a full-time working artist in 1993, Mr. Garrison’s work has focused primarily on the figure and still-life. Though the work has taken many subtle shifts over the years, from realistic to more abstracted images, straight painting to mixed media explorations, or the conceptual to the spontaneous, he has always sought to honestly connect with the viewer through a depth of feeling and representation of universally shared experience. Recently, he has shifted from the figure to his Tree series, in which he explores those natural forms, separate from any realistic landscape context. Garrison’s work has been exhibited throughout the Southeast, and can be found in many corporate, private, and public collections in the region and beyond. He lives with his wife, Van, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and maintains a studio at 613 West Morgan Street.

Artist’s Statement:

Sunlight is my muse, and I am especially inspired by the inherent expressiveness of the human figure in sunlight, which I render in bright colors, or else strong contrasts of light and dark, and fairly loose brushwork.  In my recent work, I have focused primarily on the figure as a vehicle for painting, light, shadow, color and the emotion expressed, and less on defining the surrounding areas.  The figures are more defined than in previous work and the background areas less so.

Though the figures are fairly realistic, they are not intended to be portraits; and while the spatial environments the figures occupy are indeterminate and minimal, they make reference to time of day, light and weather, and exist to envelop and enhance the figures.

In some of the people paintings, I have used some collage elements that may refer to what the figure is doing or where the figure is located generally.  Similarly, I have continued to explore still life using collage and paint.