"My paintings, drawings and prints explore in a language of abstraction, the notion of place. Weather and atmosphere act as a primal impetus in my work. The sea surrounding Nantucket Island, the warmth of a New England Fall and the mountains of my travels appear to me in a world of color and paint as I seek to understand my own place among these fleeting images.
Often working at a large scale, I come to the canvas free of preconceptions and open to the possibilities of discovery. Pictures and images are not the aim so much as a resolution that shapes color and mark into an illuminated landscape with the resonance of memory.
Printmaking offers a bridge between my drawing that investigates natural forms and the paintings that work in layers of color and light. Drawn lines of remembered and invented forms find their way from direct drawing observations in my studio garden to abstractions in woodcut and intaglio. Familiar to my process of painting, these images are built in layers. Wood or copper etching plates are printed in different hues then paired with additional or repeated images in color to create depth and interactions of form.
It is my aim to probe the depths of an inner space through these meditations in light and color. My work whether in paint or print, is an intimate moment of reflection through image, a search for a deeper connection to place and a consciousness of the present moment."
The paintings, drawings and prints of Michael Rich reflect an approach to nature and landscape as a wellspring for spiritual investigation and meditation through the contemporary language of gestural abstraction. A lifelong, Summer resident of Nantucket Island, time spent around the ocean and a landscape of great beauty has helped to shape a love and interest in the natural rhythms of color that remain a focal point in his work today. With an awareness of the opposing elements of nature’s serenity and tenacity, Rich investigates the harmony and irascibility of the natural world through opacity and translucency of color.
Light, space and weather become marks and shapes of color in poetic spaces of memory while close observations of the delicate forms in the landscape become drawn or incised marks meant to be both descriptive and expressive. Whether in large-scale paintings or smaller drawings and etchings, Michael Rich aims to discover meaning in a landscape of intimacy through a language that is visceral, physical and colorful.
Recent featured museum exhibitions include The Bristol Art Museum, The Newport Art Museum and the Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville Arkansas. Rich is the recipient of the Basil H. Alkazzi Award (USA) and was included in Sotheby’s auction series, International Young Art. His work is featured in private and public collections nationally including, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY; Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA and the Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, OH.
Michael Rich lives and works in Providence, RI and Nantucket MA and is a Professor and Chair of Visual Arts at Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island.
1997 Masters of Fine Arts, Painting • Savannah College of Art & Design
1995 University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program, Cortona, Italy
1991 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Illustration • Rhode Island School of Design
2014 Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, RI
2008 To the Sea • Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI
2007 Nantucket Walkabouts • Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville, AR
Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions
2018 The Water We Seek • Old Spouter Gallery, Nantucket, MA
2017 A Life in Color • Old Spouter Gallery, Nantucket, MA
2017 A Painter Makes Prints • Mary Castelnovo Gallery, Providence Art Club
2016 Trevisan International Art • Salon Prado, Ateneo de Madrid, Madrid Spain
2016 All the Dawns of Summer • Old Spouter Gallery, Nantucket, MA
2016 New and Large Paintings • Atrium Gallery, One Financial Plaza, Providence RI
2015 Large Scale • Candita Clayton Gallery, Pawtucket RI
2013 Small Treasures • Galeria de Marchi, Bologna, Italy (curated by Paola Trevisan)
2013 No Boundaries: Three Views of Contemporary Art,Birnam Wood Gallery, New York
2010 Sea, Sky and Land: Abstractions of Nantucket • ARC Fine Art, Fairfield, CT
2009 Adler & Co, San Francisco • Obsessions
2009 Adler & Co. at the LA Art Show
2009 Taking Refuge • Old Spouter Gallery
2008 New Paintings • George Billis Gallery, New York, NY
2007 New Paintings • Adler & Co. Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2007 New Paintings • George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2003 Works on Paper • Patricia Carega Gallery
2003 New Landscapes • 12 Orange Fine Art, Nantucket MA
2000 Sotheby's, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Vienna • Artlink International Young Art 2000
1998 New Jazz, Old Funk • Gallerie Lumière, Savannah, GA
1998 The Broome Street Gallery, New York, Selections, Savannah College of Art & Design
1997 Sylvia Schmidt Gallery, New Orleans LA • The Abstract Show
1997 Compositions • South Wharf Gallery
1997 Elements of Place • Gallerie Lumière
1996 My Places • South Wharf Gallery
The Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, OH
Cover Artist: Michael Rich (Interview) Dan’s Papers, Wolberg Weiss, Marion, April 19, 2013
Michael Rich: To The Sea (Review) Art, Norris, Doug, New England; August/ Sept 2008
Abstraction and Nature in the Paintings of Michael Rich, Kuspit, Donald, (Exhibition Catalog Essay), 2005, Basil Alkazzi Publications
New Work by Four Painters (review), Neville, Beth, Virginia Lynch Gallery
Art New England, December 2004/ January 2005
Michael Rich: Work on Paper (review) Craven, Robert, Art New England, Dec 2003/ Jan 2004