Richard Painter - Artists - Pryor Fine Art

“The (burning) technique would be no more than admirably inventive if it didn’t fit so prettily into Painter’s views on transience and fragility. His inclusion of single-word Latin captions such as ‘elegia’ or ‘infinitas’ turns his individual images into allegories of what endures and what perishes.”

— Jerry Cullum, The Atlanta Journal Constitution


After a quarter century of making art in one form or another, an artist can start wondering if any of it makes any difference. I began this journey with the high hopes of somehow changing things-- hopefully for the better.  It takes an enduring faith to continue producing objects in an already object saturated environment and trying to balance substance with purchasability in order to survive in a capitalistic society.

I continue because I am still in awe of the ability of artists to transform pure energy in the form of creative thought into a tangible physical form---the alchemy of art. This is the gift of the artist to the larger culture whether one makes a living off their work or not. Some artists make lots of stuff which sells well but has little substance; some make a small amount of things which carry deep philosophical meaning for the few who care to take note. I seem to be somewhere in the middle. I am not averse to making a fortune off my work but that doesn't seem to be what fate has planned. Maybe it's better to have to work for one's living--it puts the edge on.

My best work (in my humble opinion) comes about when I simply follow my hands and forget my head. I happen to like my hands. I like them because they're big and, well, dexterous. They often do things seemingly by themselves, making me feel like a spectator watching a couple of digitized beings going about their tasks, oblivious to the "eye in the sky".

This idea of a detached observing of one's attached appendages can be extended to the need in our culture for more self-awareness. I mean this in the sense of becoming more aware and caring of the impact of one's actions on their own life and the lives of others and the environment-- as they are happening. There is a need to "step outside one's self and watch one's life as if from a "close remove" and steer one's own boat rather than be tossed about by the waves of life. (That last line was from my hands) This, somehow, brings us to the work before you.

My work since 1995 has utilized burning. Either rapidly or slowly, everything burns. The stars, planets, rocks, earth, plants and animals, molecules and atoms, quarks and maybe tachyons--everything that springs into tangible existence starts being consumed by the oxidation of time. This idea has informed my work since I first moved from skill building to the "aware expression of idea". I don't know why this is so, it just feels right. (Some say, that I'm really an arsonist at heart and have simply found a polite and productive way to deal with that tendency.) My use of burning is best summed up in a review by Jerry Cullum in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

"The (burning) technique would be no more than admirably inventive if it didn't fit so prettily into Painter's views on transience and fragility. His inclusion of single-word Latin captions such as "elegia" or "infinitas" turns his individual images into allegories of what endures and what perishes."

The images that I use are of fragile entities. This of course, could be just about anything but some forms carry more symbolic meaning in our culture than others. The use of a fragile autumnal leaf for instance, carries more fragile associations than say-- a steel beam. Most of the images that I use also emphasize an inherent skeletal structure which is also a means of furthering the fragile nature of existence. In many of my early works I actually used the skeletons of cattle, birds and various other animals. I have since moved on to the illustration of the skeleton which has proved more lucrative and less stinky.

In the more recent sculptural works I have brought the skeleton to the forefront and yes, burned it. This action creates a parallel body of work which allows the content to move forward while building on past ideas. In many of the panel works I have used the image of birds, moths, balsa wood model airplanes, dried roses, dried leaves, grass, wooden boats and violins. All these images have in common an obvious skeletal framework (the violins have what could be considered an "exoskeleton") In creating my charred sculptural pieces I have taken this fragile skeletal idea and made it even more vulnerable by projecting it into three dimensional space. Now, back to that "oxidation of time" thing.

The abiding social theme of my work is that life is both fragile and tenacious. Life survives in the midst of adversity and throughout time. An individual life can be ended by a seemingly small event or endure unbelievable hardship to rise up and continue but "LIFE" in the larger sense goes on. The fragile entities that I present in my works are an attempt to focus on this point. They are. They exist. They continue in the midst of the fire that surrounds them. We live in the point between future and past--in constant motion. If one can become aware of that then one can objectify one's own experience and in so doing become one's own captain.

The first objective in any "plastic" artwork is to engage the eye. I do hope that most viewers will find this work to be firstly -- visually engaging. I find that even after creating hundreds of pieces that I still get lost in the actual production and rendering of an artwork. I still love to watch my independent hands do their thing even while my mind is moving on to the next idea. The initial conception of the idea is still a "big bang" moment for me. I could be quite content with that but then I wouldn't have the pleasure of sharing that idea with others. That is what all this "stuff" hanging on the walls is about.


International Cultural Exchanges And Residencies


The Arctic Circle Residency  Svalbard, Norway 2015

Israel/Tennessee Cultural Exchange (catalogue)

Jerusalem, Israel, November 14 -28, 1998

“Maskeraden” International Symposium (catalogue)

Thurnigan Artists Association, Erfurt, Germany, August 5 - 30, 1997

Christoph Merian International Exchange (catalogue)

Basel, Switzerland, July - December 1994

c/o Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee


Solo Exhibitions


Gilman Contemporary   Sun Valley, Idaho March 2013

Diehl Gallery       Jackson, Wyoming August 2012

Vanderbilt University   Nashville, Tennessee February 2010

Diehl Gallery Jackson, Wyoming  August 2008

Zeitgeist Gallery       Nashville, Tennessee May 2007

Aliya Linstrum Gallery     Atlanta, Georgia 2007

Huntsville Museum of Art (catalogue) Huntsville, Alabama  November 2006

Zeitgeist Gallery     Nashville, Tennessee October 2005

Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, October 2003

Momus Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia  March 2003

Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee October 2001

Susan Key Galleries Knoxville, Tennessee, October 2000

Zeitgeist Gallery Nashville, Tennessee, October 1999

Steppenwolf Theatre  Chicago, Illinois October 1998

Fine Arts Center  Madisonville, Kentucky, October 1997

Zeitgeist Gallery  Nashville, Tennessee, January 1997

Tennessee State Museum  Nashville, Tennessee, September 1995

Gainesville College   Gainesville, Georgia, March 1995

Lowe Gallery  Atlanta, Georgia, January 1994

Lowe Gallery Atlanta, Georgia, January 1993

Carnegie Art Center  Covington, Kentucky, May 1992

Lowe Gallery Atlanta, Georgia, March 1992

Collections Gallery  Nashville, Tennessee, May 1990

Tennessee Arts Commission  Nashville, Tennessee January 1989


Art Fairs


New York Art Fair   With Seven-0-Seven Contemporary, New York, New York  June 2007

Chicago Art Fair       With Zeitgeist Gallery, Chicago, Illinois April 2006             


Two Person Exhibitions


Hanson Gallery          Knoxville, Tennessee October 2008

Aliya Gallery           Atlanta, Georgia March 2006

Aliya Gallery           Atlanta, Georgia, April 2005

Zeitgeist Gallery Nashville, Tennessee, October 1996

Greater Nashville Arts Foundation, Nashville, Tennessee, January 1995

Lowe Gallery Los Angeles, California, May 1993

Lowe Gallery Los Angeles, California, May 1992


Selected Group Exhibitions


Diehl Gallery—Aviarium—Jackson Hole, Wyoming 2015

National Museum of Wildlife Art---“Western Visions”—Jackson Hole, Wyoming 2015

Diehl Gallery-Winter Arboretum—Jackson Hole, Wyoming 2014

National Museum of Wildlife Art—“Western Visions”—Jackson Hole, Wyoming 2014

Patricia Rovzar Gallery-21st Annual Group- Seattle, Washington 2013

National Museum of Wildlife Art—“Western Visions”--2013

Gilman Contemporary Sun Valley, Idaho 2013

Birds In Art---Woodson Art Museum  Wausau, Wisconsin 2012

National Museum of Wildlife Art—“Western Visions”--2012

Red Clay Survey—Huntsville Art Museum   Huntsville, Alabama 2012

Diehl Gallery  Jackson, Wyoming,  2011

National Museum of Wildlife Art –“Western Visions”--2011

Janine Contemporary  Santa Fe, New Mexico 2011

The Haen Gallery    Group Exhibit, Asheville, North Carolina 2009

Center Of The Earth Gallery –“Seed”,   Charlotte, North Carolina 2009

Gallery RFD “Unfamiliar Ground”   Swainsboro, Georgia 2008

LaGrange National  Biennial XXV (catalogue) LaGrange, Georgia 2008

Aliya Linstrum Gallery  Atlanta, Georgia July, 2007

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art, Auburn University (catalogue)   Auburn, Alabama, June-Sept. 2007

Aliya Gallery,  Atlanta, Georgia, December 2004

Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 2004

Zeitgeist Gallery-“Rituals”, Nashville, Tennessee, October 2004

Aliya Gallery, -“Flos Sensus”, (catalogue)  Atlanta, Georgia, September 2004

Artexpo , Atlanta, Georgia, September 2004

Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 2003

Knoxville Convention Center, Knoxville, Tennessee, October 2002

Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, November 2002

Susan Key Galleries, Knoxville, Tennessee, November 2002

Nashville International Airport, Nashville Tennessee, February –April 2002

Momus Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, January 2002

Best Of Tennessee Exhibition, Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, Tennessee October 2001

Swan Coach House, Atlanta, Georgia September 2001

River Gallery, Chattanooga, Tennessee August 2001

Regional Art Exhibition 2000, Renaissance Art Center, Dickson, Tennessee October 2000

Open Show 2000, Oak Ridge Art Museum, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, October 2000

50th Annual Mid-States Art Exhibition, Evansville, Indiana, October 2000

Tennessean 2000 Collection and Exhibitions, Nashville, Tennessee, January1999-January2000

Installations, Cheekwood Fine Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee, May 1999

Maskeraden, EGA Exhibition Hall, Erfurt, Germany, August 1997

Leonard Bernstein Center, Nashville, Tennessee, November 1996

The Elephant Art Show, Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, October 1996           

Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville, Tennessee, March 1995

47th Annual Mid-States Art Exhibition, Evansville, Indiana, November 1994

46th Annual Mid-States Art Exhibition Evansville, Indiana, November 1993

Countdown 2001 Exhibition, Nashville, Tennessee, May 1993

American Renaissance Exhibition -- Atlanta, Georgia, June 1993

Daydreams Exhibition, Bowling Green, Kentucky, April 1993

Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia November 1993…..continued……                            

46th Annual Mid-States Art Exhibition   Evansville, Indiana, November 1993                         

Countdown 2001 Exhibition, Nashville, Tennessee, May 1993

American Renaissance Exhibition, Atlanta, Georgia, June 1993Pg. 3

Daydreams Exhibition, Bowling Green, Kentucky, April 1993

A.K.A. Gallery    Nashville, Tennessee, April 1993              

Contemporary International Museum Of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, June 1992         

Invitational Drawing Exhibition, MTSU Murfreesboro, Tennessee, November 1992    

Film-Flam Exhibition, Vanderbilt University Nashville, Tennessee, October 1992   

The Lowe Gallery, Los Angeles, California, May 1992

Capitol Arts Center, Bowling Green, Kentucky, November 1991            

42nd Annual Mid-States Art Exhibition, Evansville, Indiana, November 1991

Film- Flam Exhibition, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, October 1991      

Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee, October 1991

Mid-Cumberland Exhibition, Hendersonville, Tennessee, March 1991    

Summer Lights Festival, Nashville, Tennessee, June 1989              

South African Freedom Exhibit, Nashville, Tennessee, March 1989

Robison-Willis Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, April 1989

Hendersonville Arts Council, Hendersonville, Tennessee, March 1989

40th Annual Mid-States Exhibition, Evansville, Indiana, November 1987

Tennessee All State Art Exhibition, Nashville, Tennessee, October 1985

Central South Art Exhibition, Nashville, Tennessee, June 1984

Tennessee All State Art Exhibition, Nashville, Tennessee, October 1984


Selected Awards


Gallery RFD, “Unfamiliar Ground”   

June 14-July 5 2008     First Award, Georgia

LaGrange Biennial XXV, Lamar Dodd Art Center

March 1- April 24 2008,  Merit Award, La Grange, Georgia

51st Mid-States Art Exhibition, Evansville Museum

December 2002-January 2003—Bob and Sara Davies Award,  Evansville, Indiana

Best Of Tennessee Exhibition

October 2001—Purchase Award,  Nashville, Tennessee

Regional Art Exhibition, Renaissance Art Center

October 2000—Award of Merit,  Dickson, Tennessee

50th  Mid-States Art Exhibition, Evansville Museum

October 2000— Florita Eichel Award,  Evansville, Indiana

Open Show 99, Oak Ridge Fine Arts Museum

September 1999—Top Multi Media Award,  Oak Ridge, Tennessee

47th Annual Mid-States Art Exhibition, Evansville Museum

November 1994 Museum Guild Purchase Award, Bronstein Purchase Award,  Evansville, Indiana

Tennessee Individual Artists Fellowship

Anne and Walter Knestrick Award—October 1990,  Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville, Tennessee

Metro Arts Commission, Countdown 2001 Exhibition, June 1991

Top Purchase and Juror's Merit Award,  Nashville, Tennessee

Mid Cumberland Exhibition, Hendersonville Arts Council,  March 1991

First Award,  Hendersonville, Tennessee

40th Annual Mid- States Art Exhibition, Evansville Museum, November 1987 Museum Guild Purchase Award,   Evansville, Indiana

Central South Art Exhibit, Parthenon, June 1984

Capitol Engraving Award,  Nashville, Tennessee


Public and Corporate Commissions  


Jackson Hole Airport     Jackson Hole, Wyoming 2014

Terminix Corporation          Dallas, Texas May 2012

Del Frisco’s Rockefeller Center,  New York, New York May 2011

Blue Cross/Blue Shield  Chattanooga, Tennessee October 2010

Jackson Hole Airport   Jackson, Wyoming May 2010

Fairings Restaurant    Dallas, Texas July 2007

Tramontos Steak House  Chicago, Illinois November 2006

Fed-Ex Forum-June 2004- Memphis, Tennessee

Arthur Blank-Private commission—March 2002—Atlanta, Georgia

Vanderbilt University—January, 2002 –Nashville, Tennessee

Knoxville Convention Center—September, 2002 –Knoxville, Tennessee

Private Business Incorporated – August, 1997 – Brentwood, Tennessee

Mercury Records — November, 1997— Nashville, Tennessee

Pioneer Music Group – July, 1998 – Franklin, Tennessee

Maskeraden Public Installations – August, 1997 Erfurt, Germany


Selected Reviews And Bibliography


Nashville Scene  March 2010 Joe Nolan

The Tennessean    February 2010 MiChelle Jones

Jackson Hole News & Guide  April 2008 Melanie White

Homestead Magazine  Volume 8 - 2008

Nashville Tennessean  May-2007- Jonathan Marx

Atlanta Journal-Constitution  February-2007- Jerry Cullum

“THE” Magazine—Santa Fe- December-2006- Michael Abatemarco

New American Paintings – Southeast Edition—2005

American Art Collector – Southern States--- 2005

Atlanta Constitution—“Flos Sensus”—Catherine Fox—October, 2004

Best of Tennessee—Tennessee Arts Commission—2001

New American Paintings—Southeast Edition--2001

Atlanta Art Papers —February 2000 —Terri Smith

A Half Century of Art--Evansville Museum--2000

In Review – October 1999 – Paul McClean

New American Paintings—Southeast Edition--1999

Atlanta Art Papers - March/April 1997 — Susan Knowles

Nashville Life - March 1997  Louise LeQuire

Nashville Scene - October 15, 1995 — David Ribar

Christoph Merian Documentation - April 1995 — Claus Donau

Nashville Scene - January 20, 1995 — David Ribar

New American Paintings –Southeast Edition-- 1995

Atlanta Art Papers - March/April 1994 — Angel Medina

Atlanta Constitution - January 16, 1994 — Jerry Cullum

Atlanta Art Papers - March/April 1992 — Susan Knowles

Creative Loafing - March 1992 — Amy Jinkner Lloyd

Atlanta Art Papers - January/February 1991 — Susan Knowles


Shows Curated


New Art From Europe (Contemporary German Artists)

Hendersonville Arts Council, Hendersonville, Tennessee 1990

Black Perspectives (Black Artists From The Region)

Hendersonville Arts Council, Hendersonville, Tennessee 1990

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