Self-taught painter Richard Stabbert opened his show "Memories of Moments" just yesterday at New York's BrianRiley1Projects, featuring his child-like renderings of dreamy summer landscapes populated with homoerotic interactions between bronzed sunbathers, basking amongst the tawny sands, white clouds and azure skies of the summer's warm months-- the perfect visual compliment to New York's heated, humid -- yet concrete-colored -- rebirth. Stabbert took a few moments to answer a couple of questions for us on the eve of his latest show, which runs through July 17th.
BrianRiley1ProjectSpace is located at 368 Broadway, Ste. 405, New York, NY 10003, 917-968-2112
OUT: Where were you born? What was your childhood like?
I was born in New Jersey in the late summer of 1959, to German-immigrant parents. I grew up wandering the beaches of New Jersey, hence the inspiration for much of my work. There, I began to gather memories of the shore that became a reference for my art now.
Did you know you were gay when you were younger? How does that inform your work?
Yes, I was a gay boy. I found expression in the arts though not necessarily through painting. That didn’t come until much later.
Tell us about your education. Did you study art in college or a university?
I have no formal education, simply a desire to paint as a way of documenting a memory, a person or a place in time. The paintings are more emotionally driven than technically skilled, somewhat like a personal journal.
What is your medium of choice?
In my elusive attempt to capture beauty, I pick up a paintbrush and begin to paint. For the viewer, I wish to convey the constancy of love, desire and nature, a certain sweetness, a naive sensuality.
What will you be doing this summer?
It’s the unofficial start of the summer, 2011 and I’ve begun to wander the beach of Sandy Hook. I’ll be in Provincetown in July. There are moments of beauty waiting to be observed, waiting to be lived, waiting to be captured on a canvas.
What is your favorite part of being an artist? Your least favorite part?
My favorite part of painting is losing myself in the process, letting go of the outcome and the fact that one brushstroke can bring it all back from the point of collapse. My least favorite part is cleaning the brushes, but sometimes my partner is willing to take that on. But more seriously, my least favorite part is the anticipation of judgment in a public way.
What are you looking forward to this summer? What are some highlights of this past year?
This has been an exciting year for me. Three of my paintings are featured in E. Gibbons’ 100 Artists of the Male Figure book. I’m so honored to be to be part of this international cast of artists, so many varied expressions of the male figure. And then my first NYC solo show at the BrianRiley1ProjectSpace through July 17th. It's great to work with Brian, he’s someone who understood my work immediately. He is an artist himself, and has created a space, figuratively and literally, for a trusting artist/gallery relationship.