Rick Amor Essay

Published Wednesday, January 2, 2002

Amor in the series of work seen in ARN2 extends the tradition of Romantic painting to incorporate the existential of angst of contemporary society. Whilst the German Romanticists of the late 18th century were exploring the relationship of the figure in the landscape as a metaphor for humanity's contemplation of the sublime Amor offers a more present-day account.

Image: A town by the sea (looking back), 137 x 168cm; oil on linen; 1990

In his work the figure plays an integral part in his work. A sense of isolation is found in his work offering an austere assessment of humanity as the key element within the subject matter. The figure in his paintings established a sense of empathy in which the audience feels for Amor's subejcts.

Intrinsic to his work is the sense of being, the quality of the audience recognising the scene and empathising with the figure. Amor purposely builds an evocative relationship between the figure and the environment encompassing the landscape. His work creates a deeper reality that goes beyond the illusionistic appearance of simply what is seen. The scale of the environment in reference to the figure that inhabits the canvas alludes to a sense of alienation. The landscape reflects both natural and modern life; the juxtaposition of the figure in these settings suggests the essence of humanity in its environment. The landscape adds to the artist's ability to visually articulate the 'essence of humanity', as stated in the interview with Bill Nuttall (Directory of Niagara Galleries):

"All Amor's subject matter is drawn from life or life experiences... He composes pictures drawing all these elements together to give us a romantic or visionary composition".

What the artist feels is summed up by his 'constructed interplay' between the figure and the landscape, conveying a sense of alienation and existential dread which is succinctly conveyed to the audience. His treatment of the figures offers a portrayal of the metaphysics found in everyday life. The function and value of his paintings resides in the interpretation construed by the audience. The viewer recognises the personal account that dwells within each painting and attempts to clarify their own emotive and intellectual response in terms of their own personal readings of the work.

Amor attempts to capture the 'sublime' of Postmodern life in a similar fashion to his 18th century counterparts. The figure in his paintings appear to overwhelmed by the 'uncanny' in their suburban environments, as Amor gives the audience a glimpse into his own contemporary world.

Through the accumulation of imagery through studies and the mediation within composition development, Amor produces paintings that galvanise technical prowess in the handling of the medium and the concepts relating the system of viewing that Amor ascribes to in the production of his work. His paintings are not the chance assembly of differing observations but rather the refinement of visual and conceptual interpretations.

By Craig Malyon

Questions on the Artist

Rick Amor's paintings relate to personal experiences or observations, his treatment of the figure demonstrates the artist's ability to capture what is beyond what is seen, to what is felt and thought.

  • Discuss in reference to the subjective frame his approach to artmaking.
  • Outline Amor's approach to painting?
  • Bill Nuttal says this about Amor's work
    "He composes pictures drawing all these elements together to give us a romantic or visionary composition".
    Discuss this statement making reference to one of Amor's work.
  • What is German Romanticism? Where if any are there any similarities to Amor's work?
  • The figure suggests a sense of alienation similar to the American realist painter at the beginning of the 20th century Edward Hopper. Compare and contrast one painting by Amor and one by Hopper.

Artists Connections

Historical Contemporary
Caspar David Friedrich William Kentridge
Edward Hopper Bill Viola
Giorgio de Chirico Paula Rego
Jan Vermeer Lucian Freud
Paul Gaugain Louise Hearman

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