OSL contemporary is proud to present the third solo show by artist Leonard Rickhard. For more than forty years Rickhard has continued to push his medium of choice painting, earning him recognition as one of the most prominent painters in Norway. His work exhibits a profound awareness of the history of painting, while he remains committed to the pursuit of exploring what constitutes a relevant and timely painting.
Over the years Rickhard has built a distinct visual vocabulary from which he continues to draw: fragments of machinery and tools inhabit distinctly framed views of architecture, ranging from farmhouses to saw mills, and natural landscapes. Even when human figures appear, they appear solitary and aloof, quietly absorbed in an activity.
Rickhard’s work carries the weight of processing history, both analytically and emotionally, something that determines both composition and technique. Born in 1945, he grew up in the post-war period, shaping his worldview and by extension his art. His work is devoid of any sentimental undertones, but the anxiety surrounding societal tension and transformation remains an underpinning of both subject matter and the overall mood of his work.
Rickhard brings the same level of attention and precision to form and content, as he does to the architectural frame in which his works will be experienced. The exhibition space is always factored into the process of making a work. Rickhard views each exhibition as an installation, in which each painting forms part of a balanced whole. Composition, motifs, subject matter, and colour palette are carefully calibrated in custom designed and painted wooden frames. The larger works on view reveal the lines and numbers that divide the surface of the canvas, when the artist translates his preparatory drawing into
a larger scale painting. Each work absorbs us in its universe, only to lead us back to its’ material surface, built by impasto technique, layer upon layer. Populated by elements in an uncertain state of emerging or disappearing, Rickhard’s works presents us with a fragmented reality. His unresolved narratives are accompanied by the feeling of a present defined by impending events—the distinct uncertainty of what the future might bring.
Leonard Rickhard, born 1945, Tvedestrand, has exhibited in all major Norwegian art institutions, and his works are included in numerous collections, both private and institutional. In 2000, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Contemporary Art gave a retrospective solo exhibition of his production, and in 2009 he exhibited in Bergen Kunsthall, as the headline artist during the Bergen International Festival. In 2015 his works were shown alongside those of Bjarne Melgaard at the Henie-Onstad Art Centre, Høvikodden, and in 2016 his solo exhibition ‘between war and peace’ at ARoS in Aarhus drew more than 100 000 visitors. Rickhard’s work has been honoured with several awards, among them the Order of St. Olav and the Prince Eugen Medal, and in 2015 he received Anders Jahre’s culture price.