David Richard Gallery presents Convergence, an exhibition of paintings by New York artist Lester Rapaport that utilize a similar motif and approach to explore very different compositions inspired by different internal forces.
These two series of paintings were realized over 30 years apart from one another. This is Rapaport’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
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The paintings in this exhibition fall roughly into 2 series. The first, from a body of work created in 1980 and 1981 that Rapaport refers to as the Convergence series. The second series is entitled, A New Chapter and was created during the years 2014 through 2018. The common motif that ties the paintings together is a pour of paint that creates a single broken band of color centrally located on the canvas on either solid color grounds or pillow-soft, ethereal sprays of diffused paint. The bands of color range from a single or up to three or four colors poured adjacent to, or on top of one another.
The earlier Convergence series marked the artist’s return to painting large abstract works following a decade of difficult years in his life. The compositions fill the square canvases with four pours of the same width and color of paint that initiate and radiate from the center on a solid ground color to create a thick structure that divides the canvas into quadrants. They are grounded and structured by design to create bold and dynamic statements that read as a painterly, geometric composition. Rapaport has said in his writing that the paintings are pure abstractions created in the moment and did not reference anything in particular from the prior decade. However, he later realized that subconsciously, the series had been more of a cathartic release than initially thought.
The more recent series, A New Chapter, come out of years of Rapaport’s meditation practice and soul searching and as the title suggests, a look forward. They are more reductive and open with a single poured band of paint in the center of the canvas with one or more circles of color placed on one or both sides of the pour in different locations situated on a mottled, softly-hued ground. The paintings evoke meditation centers and Tantric painting with the isolated shapes of saturated color on an open ground. Rapaport’s current paintings come out of meditation and spiritual reflection, not as a direct commentary on anything in particular, but as his response to personal emotions as well as frustrations with current cultural and political turmoil.
Rapaport (b. 1947), born and raised in New York City, earned his BFA in 1969 and pursued graduate studies at Hunter College. Initially trained and concentrated on figurative painting and drawing, by the late 1960s he switched entirely to abstract painting. The 1970s were a bit of a lost decade for the artist due to health issues and other personal matters. However, he reemerged in the early 1980s and has consistently produced challenging and inter-related series of abstract artworks that he has exhibited mostly in and around New York. His strongest affiliations have been with Westbroadway Gallery in New York and Sideshow Gallery in Brooklyn.Courtesy of the artist and David Richard Gallery, New York