The Mahler Gallery on Fayetteville Street has revealed an entirely new turn for that very accomplished artist Richard Garrison. Carefully avoiding the usual landscape cliches, 18 mixed media paintings of trees seek to turn leafless limbs into what Garrison describes as spiritual statements. Color is his instrument: The background of "Tree #1" consists of very light orange and yellow squares against which Garrison places a near-blue, though dark, tree, that brightens near the top. With no sharp contrasts, the trunk and branches are distinct and yet part of the sky.
The Raleigh Downtowner
"Garrison's strong colors, veering toward the primary, and tactile surfaces could stand alone as compelling examples of nonobjective art. But, by introducing recognizable imagery, he escalates the spatial and conceptual tension that binds the disparate elements in a precarious equilibrium. That his simply constructed figures convey a sense of individuality and mood is an unexpected bonus."
Richmond Times Dispatch
"Richard Garrison turns his loose, broad-brush technique to exploring psychological territory in paintings such as 'The Embrace' and 'Two Figures with a Mask.' Garrison uses odd, solid colors to shape volumes and suggest shadow, and these play into the implied psychodrama. Like most of Garrison's figures (the 'Two Figures with a Mask') are featureless forms, but the woman appears to be stepping on a clearly featured mask on the floor. A wealth of implications about sex and identity can be mined from this simple, effective composition."
The News and Observer
"The human form is the center of each of Garrison's paintings, expertly rendered with every movement detailed. He can reproduce a body in sprightly movement or weighed down by fatigue, and it is clear to the viewer what he intends. In the end, it is the bottom line that matters: that Garrison, the master painter, renders the human form as a glorious part of some grand design even as it inhabits a mere two dimensional space."
Garrison, a midcareer artist based in Raleigh, is well-known to Triangle viewers for canvases that take Bay Area figuration as a point of departure. Broad planes of saturated color and a palpable sense of light are features of this work, to which Garrison has added his own idiosyncratic touches of found paper collage elements and impasto paint handling. In this show (at Tyndall Galleries), one recognizes Garrison's previous style, but sees him clearly setting forth into deeper territory."
The News and Observer
"Garrison is concerned not with the specifics of character and the weave of connections among people, but with the emotional states of the forever-isolated, self-enclosed human. Garrison has explored this theme for years, through his use of color, through the constructions of his abstract backgrounds, and through the placement and posture of the abstracted figure on the background. This is a legitimate exploration, a sincere effort to understand and express states of being common to us all."
-Kate Dobbs Ariail
The Independent Weekly
"If you like form and figure, Richard Garrison will appeal to you. If you want an exact representation of life, then photography is the way to go. (Garrison) hope(s) for deeper connections, encouraging the viewer to absorb whatever energy radiates from a piece and identify with it in his own personal way. The lack of specificity, it turns out, has potential."
Encore Alternative Weekly