There is a painting in this show that Dick began by looking at a photograph of the cave paintings in
In all these visions the task of man is explicitly made large. Wood sculptures emerge from the animate spirit their original yoke or crotch or bend or branching suggest. The modern is as primitively rooted as in ancient times, Ranck suggests. Both terror and tenderness take turns. The myth of fear is as real as the myth of courage. The suggestion in such work is that the real is indeed mythic in its very nature, and not able to be broken down into surface realisms, or the representation of banal exteriors.
There are test models for the Trojan Horse here and there, reminding us of vehicles our cars attempt to duplicate, complete with splitting wooden wheels, and a recalcitrant technology that nature undercuts. This is like the god in the machine, a thing long ago laughed off as a theatre device, but nowadays a more visible result of our courageous stories. Think Industry foiled by Global Warming; the car foiled by rust; the body aging from time’s use.
The work of Gauguin has to come up in looking at these, and you realize that Gauguin was intuiting abstraction in his own way. Dick Ranck paints with less distraction by an exotic region across the Pacific. His wilderness is the woods of
and Vermont , his abstraction the
sky and what the mind plays out of it, or on it. Maine
In this you have both light and air, some exaggeration of the Id’s wide wishes, the ego’s drive, the toys of children, and the embrace of love.
The generation of tattoos and Red Hot Chili Peppers that thrashed about to wild music during the Super bowl halftime show the evening of the opening are all coincident with these deeper meditations about our wild natures. If not civilization, then
must stem from and be ordered by these ungovernable spirits. Liberty
At Richard Rosenfeld Gallery
Throughout February 2014