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Rick Arnitz (American, born 1949)

Letters from the Earth, 2002

Letters from the Earth, 2002

Enamel on canvas 90 in. x 50 in. (228.6 cm x 127 cm)

Crocker Art Museum, gift of Barbara and William Hyland, Monterey, California


  • Rick Arnitz’s paintings probe the way even the most simple of visual forms can be evocative, in this instance suggesting a seemingly familiar backdrop that just escapes being pinned down. Rather than using traditional brushes, Arnitz applies enamel house paint with small rollers to create all-over patterns. This innovative technique results in broad studies that, at heart, are about visual movement. His method offers an exploration of ways of seeing, especially the way repetition and tension heighten our experience of color, shape, and illusory space.
    Self-described as a semi-abstract artist, Arnitz finds inspiration for his paintings in everyday objects and wider cultural references, often of a personal nature. He describes his work as a search for authenticity and visual truth. This encompasses both the desire to define art as something other than cultural treasure, but also expresses an aversion to everyday kitsch. His inspirations are never literally revealed, only hinted at with enigmatic titles.

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