August 19 - September 22, 2018
Opening reception: Sunday, August 19, 2018
2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Review: Philip Rich's speculative Surrealism asks the question: what if?
by Christopher Knight
Los Angeles artist Philip Rich (1935-2017) exhibited his Pop and Surrealist-inflected paintings in a one-person show at the legendary Ferus Gallery, then directed by Irving Blum, in January of 1965. Championed by LACMA’s Betty Asher, Rich won the museum’s “New Talent Purchase Award” and participated in its “Five Younger Los Angeles Artists” exhibition later that same year. This highly promising beginning to a professional art career was, sadly, also its end. A severe bi-polar disorder, undiagnosed at the time, drove the artist to recoil from the attention that came with his new-found success and, very soon after, Rich withdrew from the art-scene altogether. He did continue, at least for a time, working on an extensive body of line drawings--typically six by six inches square--which explored and developed themes in his paintings. Like the paintings but also, significantly unlike them, these small drawings make an even more direct and candid link back to the sources in fine art and commercial culture that influenced this artist while also projecting forward in ways that perhaps anticipate R. Crumb, the later work of Philip Guston and a range of graphic sensibilities that would develop from there.