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Richard Kane is an award winning artist whose work has been exhibited in museums, galleries, and private and public collections, since 1971. His paintings typically explore the expressive potential of highly illusionistic textured surfaces, a subject he has focused on since 1980. Although the paintings do “fool the eye”, as in the trompe l’oeil tradition, they are better appreciated as visual manifestations of emotions and concepts. These are expressed through the use of the elements and principles of design, with an emphasis on color, shape, composition, and balance. The initial impact on the viewer is that the paintings appear to be actually folded or wrinkled, even though they are really perfectly flat. Upon further examination, however, one can fully sense the true meanings of the works: a state of calm in one painting; the feeling of order in another; the surreal quality of a dream in still another; or the strain of conflict, in a different one. Kane’s paintings, then, grab your attention, then keep bringing you back for deeper meaning.
New York Times Art Critic Helen Harrison has said of Kane’s paintings “He … renders their subtle topography with illusionistic precision. The quality that elevates these works above the level of mere exercises is the surprising degree of mystery which Mr. Kane infuses them.” She further observed “Richard Kane’s detailed treatment of creased paper … becomes abstract through the removal of the subject from its normal frame of reference.” In another review Ms. Harrison stated “A few paintings that might be called ‘photo-realist’ underscore the fact that realism can also function on an abstract level … In Richard Kane’s ‘Sanctuary,’ crumpled paper, modeled with strong highlights and shadows, suggests a cave opening or even a dark recess of the mind.”
Other New York Times critics, David L. Shirey and Phyllis Braff, have also spoken favorably of Kane’s work. Mr. Shirey wrote “An abstractionist who can make a wrinkle in paper look as enticing as you’ll ever see a wrinkle of paper look is Richard Kane. His proficiency with the brush in his acrylics on canvas is a trompe l’oeil tour de force. His works should be appreciated, though, for the individuality in their treatment of texture and of their dynamic surfaces.” Ms. Braff noted “The exhibition … includes … some close-focus pattern studies by Richard Kane that play a distinctive role in carrying out the exploration of what Realism can be.” She also pointed out “The compelling nature of mystical, figurative imagery is represented by Richard Kane’s densely worked pencil drawing …”Newsday’s Art Critic Malcolm Preston remarked “We can almost feel the uneven surface, the folds and depressions of paper … Surprisingly, although the general tonal effect is a monochromatic one, a close inspection reveals a rather large number of individual hues …” Mr. Preston additionally observed “The spray painting, in his hands, lends a softness to the surface enhanced by his use of low-keyed color.” Art Critic Jeanne Paris, also of Newsday, wrote “Richard Kane paints wrinkled, folded and crumpled surfaces … the realistic and the abstract all caught up with one surface.