|St. Ness Oil on canvas|
The recent paintings of Phoenix-based artist Richard Bledsoe take the viewer by surprise. When I saw a few of them at Deus Ex Machina
gallery last week, I was simultaneously amused and chilled, and I was unsure which response was the stronger. I am still unsure, and I think this might be what gives Bledsoe’s work its power.St. Ness
depicts a Loch Ness Monster that is almost cartoonish, but not quite. While the monster is close to being cute, the detail of the water it inhabits is so convincing that the picture has the sinister, lonely beauty of the best of the American “creature feature” films of the 1940s and 1950s.
Among the Fortunate
|Among the Fortunate Oil on Canvas|
is an urban fairytale, more Brothers Grimm than Hans Andersen. I change my mind as to whether “the fortunate” are the birds that surround the strange, birdlike human wading in a lake on the edge of an overcast city, or the denizens of that city who do not have to inhabit its edge.
And why is he/she surrounded by birds? And why is the stick he/she carries carved in the shape of a bird?
Bledsoe is actually a realistic painter, in that the more his work is examined, the fewer clear answers or statements are to be found. This is the life we live, in which everything is in plain sight, and yet everything is hidden, and the meanings we find are only inventions. Richard Bledsoe brings news of real life.