Paintings and Works on Paper

Richard Willenbrink’s paintings have a very forthright engagement with the Grand Manner through their handling, high-key color, life-size figure scale, and the dynamic compositional roles given to the nude singly and in groups. He also tackles themes from myth, legend, and even religious history which have long been core grand-manner subjects. In keeping with many of his forebears, Willenbrink takes up such themes not only because the subjects or stories are interesting, curious, or provocative in themselves but also principally because they can be used to frame a variety of metaphysical points of view, ranging from moralistic reflections to considerations of the nature and function of art.

When Willenbrink's works combine most or all of his artistic concerns, the results can be very dense and meaty: such pictures often present a variety of aspects, color, composition, subject, theme, associational connections with other artistic works and traditions which can be explored one at a time before they begin to function in the layered, chord-like experiences of the works in full.

Dennis Adrian