The Color of Confidence

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Sailing at Sunset by Linda Richichi.

Sunsets made of molten gold, boats sailing under tie-dye skies. Clouds that hang over the horizon like fluffy mountains of cotton candy, water that flows in every hue. Seeing the world through the eyes of painter Linda Richichi can be like seeing the world in color for the first time, like someone grabbed one of the knobs on your optic nerve and cranked the brilliance all the way up to 11. As an artist living in a synesthetic world, wherein colors pop and explode off the walls in unexplainable ways, Richichi has long aimed to capture this reality on her canvas. With Coastal Perspectives, her latest solo exhibition at Burns Gallery on Palm, she takes perhaps her best shot yet.

“I just started grabbing the colors that I saw around me on a daily basis,” Richichi says. And through nearly 50 paintings and pastel drawings made in the last six months, Coastal Perspectives sees the artist unabashedly celebrating the natural beauty surrounding her every day—an elemental interplay of light and color, never predictable in anything but its vibrance and its impermanence. And from the wetlands to the shoreline, Richichi captures it all on canvases large and small, wading into both the representational and the abstract, worshiping at the altar where earth, sky, and water all come together and then praying there in pigment. The result is a body of work as dramatic as it is peaceful, bursting with color and daring the audience to see the mundane as something more. “It helps people to see beyond what they’re used to seeing,” Richichi says. “So they can see how much variety there is, every single day, in the colors that surround us.”

The point is perhaps best illustrated in Richichi’s Cloud Installation, a collection of 20 individual 6x6 oil paintings that emphasize the depth of nature’s palette through minimalist portraits of Sarasota Bay. Though each was painted from the same vantage point, the colors vary wildly depending on the day and time, ranging from rich blues and golds to dark greys and greens or soothing pastel tones. “Sometimes I just give in to the color,” Richichi says. But even beyond Cloud Installation, from the large-scale oils dominating the exhibition to the “play pieces”—small pastel works produced from Richichi’s memory or imagination—Coastal Perspectives sees the artist operating with a whole new level of confidence.

“I understand the lines and shapes—and how they communicate—even better now,” Richichi says. “So when I get to the canvas, I have intention. There’s more curating in the brushstrokes that I use, and in the colors.” And when the first mark is the right mark, she knows.

“Fear has no place in my studio anymore,” she says. “And it shows in the paintings.”

Currently on display at Burns Gallery on Palm, Coastal Perspectives runs through February 25.

Pictured: Sailing at Sunset by Linda Richichi.

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