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Monday, December 20, 2010

Both Sides Now

Lt. Col. David Richardson makes his home within two worlds that often collide. Sometimes he's an abstract artist. Other times a marine. Fascinating that he can keep the two facets of himself compartmentalized. But understandable as well. I know nothing about his service in the Marine Corps. But I very much like his art. It's bold and yet inviting. The work seems to take you on a journey, and within the splashes of color you can get lost in its checkered landscape or invigorated by unraveling the fabric of some unknown army off to war. I think he's found a way to envision his own symbols of territory, might and power. Much of his work at a local gallery in Washington, DC is inspired by the Trojan war. Fitting, right?
To rise to the rank he now holds, he has to have a mind that's orderly; that deals with systems, evaluation and logic. To work as an abstract painter, he has to have a mind that's creative, open to experience, in touch with an emotional landscape. I find the contradictions fascinating and empowering.
Because to understand how to communicate effectively, and to work successfully in our business, you need to be able to flow freely between those two worlds. You should possess all the evaluative and creative qualities evidenced in the two lives of Lt. Col. Richardson. And, given how separate those two lives must need be, I admire that he gives voice to both. That definitely takes commitment and courage.
And why does he do it? Here's a quote from a NYT article: I was never interested in painting ugly paintings,” Colonel Richardson said. “We often say to the general, ‘Here is the bottom line up front.’ My bottom line up front is I want to create something beautiful. To me there are enough disturbing and ironic things in life.”

1 comment:

Bob James said...

Colonel Richardson's art is awesome. (Disclaimer: I'm a sucker for Abstract Expressionism.) Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Dan. The Marines need a few good artists.