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  • Clint Ricketts

    Nice Paintings: A Solo Exhibition of Paintings at the Lawrence Art Center, Lawrence, KS

    Ever since meeting Clint during my years at KU I have been collecting his prints and attending any exhibition of his that I am able to make. His imagery is quirkily sentimental, sometimes dark, with always at least a tinge of humor. Typically his imagery consists of bizarre bohemian gatherings or a meeting of boyhood idols: actions heroes, movie monsters, and historical figures. I say his work is sentimental, because no matter who he is depicting, whether it is Frankenstein's monster or body builders, there is always a kind of tender affection apparent, whether it is between Clint and the subject matter or between the subjects themselves. Familial love, man love, a mother's love, love, love, love. He meticulously depicts these characters through delicate line work in the form of colorful drawings or intaglio prints.

    This show is different. His sole medium is paint and his imagery is much less representational. The works are divided between portraits and nonrepresentational compositions. I would like to focus on the nonrepresentational paintings, since they at first seem like a complete divergence from his earlier work. It is very interesting to see his strange use of color and form stripped of all representational elements. Somehow, you still get the subtle mix of somber and funny in these theatrical abstractions. It is this combination of moods as well as the color palette of gloomy greens and browns with bright, almost neon, little accents that make my mind keep going back to Picasso's short lived circus period. Clint's droopy jumble of shapes with patches of bright patterning give off the same mundane, gloomy yet cheerful vibe given off by the clowns and performers of Picasso's "Family of Saltimbanques" and "The Acrobats Family." I admit, I may be inclined to make these connections because I am so accustomed to seeing in Clint's paintings an array of freakish characters usually relating to each other in a familial way. It may be impossible for me to look at Clint's abstractions without personifying each line and shape and creating sweet little weepy relationships between each of them.