I'll admit that my obsession with Gerhard has been a long time in the making. He, perhaps more than any other living artist has influenced my concepts of texture, color and inter-dimensionality through process-oriented abstraction.
Why does the motion of his compositions move me so? I chose to illustrate his work with the above featured work to contrast it with "Cellular Divide" from The Gold Series. Both possess a uniquely understated movement and vivacity lent to them by the combination of ephemeral striations (similar to "If Bath House Walls Could Talk"). I feel this Richter inspired piece speaks to his philosophy of blurred and moving constructs illustrating the difficulty of art and artists in truly conveying the depth of an emotion or concept on canvas. His blurred notions of form also influence the "spirit motif" running throughout The Gold Series.
"Cellular Divide" contrasts the lateral motion of the white striations (signifying time) with the ebullient and seething motion of the almost coagulated mass of golden cells budding in the lower left hand corner. The gold leafed areas representing the transformation of self upon realization of a body at war with its own blood.
Cellular Divide is a meditation on the moments spent being stabbed and jabbed to give upteenth blood samples, the moments when the blood that marks us as "dirty" to some and "charged" to others is put in front of us by our nurses and phlebotomists, reminding us of our "other" ness and the viral divide between the positive and negative that often goes unspoken.
The reality is that cellular divides are a key component of life with the virus. Our medications strive to prevent this divide while we struggle to prevent a divide within ourselves. When our medications fail or the virus becomes resistant this divide comes to the forefront as it wreaks havoc on our immune systems and ability to function productively. The manifold notions of division and biology; interfacing between the micro (self) and macro (society) while a war rages inside one's blood and bones and mind are the focus of "Cellular Divide"
Also at the forefront of this meditation is the contemplation of medication resistance.
When someone has HIV or AIDS they are put on medication called ARV. (Anti-Retroviral Therapy).
While this medication is effective at combating the virus on a variety of levels it must be taken as prescribed otherwise the HIV virus may in fact mutate to be resistant. If enough resistant HIV cells take hold, a person's regimen becomes ineffective and a new one must be sought. This fear of resistance plays into the psychology of the virus and adds to the worries we with HIV carry with us constantly. I wanted to meditate on this fear while driving home the relatively simplistic biology at the heart of the problem.
I chose to pay homage to Richter for his philosophical focus on the difficulty faced by artists translating experience to canvas for the viewer. The decided blurs and chance effects acting as a mimetic construct bent on verisimilitude through ambiguity seemed appropriate to translating the pervasive fuzziness of HIV related fatigue and mental anguish.