A K Dolven
Dag Erik Elgin
Vibeke Barbel Slyngstad
Leonard Rickhard has, over the past 40 years, come to be recognized as one of Norway's key living artists. His work has been shown in every major Norwegian art institution, and is included in the majority of national collections, both private and institutional. In 2009 he exhibited in Bergen Kunsthall, as headline artist during the prestigious Bergen International Festival. Richkard's work has been honoured with several awards, among them the Order of St. Olav and the Prince Eugen Medal.
Though predominantly known as a painter, drawing has always constituted a significant part of Rickhard's oeuvre, both as preparation for paintings and as independent works.
A distinctive feature of Rickhard's practice is the investigation of a defined set of themes and formal issues. His work centres on a condensed collection of motifs, a certain personalised iconography, that is continuously revisited; birch forests, enclosed rooms and architectural constructions, pseudo-instructive diagrams and blueprints, just-about recognizable instruments and solitary figures immersed in introvert activity. Objects and figures are distinctly, almost insistently, articulated on the painting's surface, while intentions, functions and emotions, "what really happens, seem to evade efforts of detection.
Rickhard explores his inexhaustible subject matters through a constant change in treatment of color, detail, perspective and lighting. This never-ending process of seeing, recording, observing and analysing may be read as meditations on the relationship between the "thing seen" and the "possibility of seeing referring to both the attempts at classification and definition, and to the human inability to ever really grasp the thing "in itself". The process of investigation becomes an object of study in and of itself. The history of art may, in many ways, be viewed as such a history of investigation, whose formal references are inexorably present in Rickhard's work. Demonstrating the inexhaustibly of our attempts at apprehension, Rickhard's practice can be viewed as defining a place for the tradition of painting, after that tradition's collapse; one that recognizes the rupture, but rejects its finality.