Richard Kirk Mills

Richard Kirk Mills

Recent Paintings: Windows and Landscapes

May 21 –  June 15, 2019

Reception May 23rd, 6-8 pm

CATALOG in pdf form  For html version or hard copy, contact gallery

The Blue Mountain Gallery will hold an exhibition of Richard Kirk Mills’ recent paintings May 21 through June 15, 2019.  A reception for the artist will be held Thursday May 23rd, from 6 to 8 PM. Mr. Mills will also be at the gallery and available to discuss his work on Saturday, May 25th from 11 AM to 6 PM.

After teaching for thirty-four years, first at Pratt Graphics Center then as professor of art at LIU/Post, Mills has returned to painting full time. He maintains studios in New Jersey and the Catskills.

This is firsMills’ first solo show at Blue MountainKnown for his printmaking and for his distinguished work in public and eco-art, this is Mills’ first show in NYC since his return to painting. .

“I paint directly from subjects in my familiar surroundings. The poetry of place arises from my own personal mythology: a longing for lost homes; a remembrance of water; of daydreaming looking out of windows: of silence. I occasionally make a pilgrimage, but for the most part, it’s just there, in front of me. From my observations and emotions I try to make good paintings.”

Mills has been artist in residence at the Teaneck Creek Conservancy and a visiting Fellow at the Jentel Foundation, Ucross Foundation and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Mills has received grants from numerous arts foundations and state and federal agencies including the NJ State Council on the Arts, Puffin Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, USEPA, NJDEP and NJ TRANSIT.

Essay about this exhibition:


Last November, I fell on the stairs and broke my neck. I was rendered immobile in the ER the next morning, and then loaded — pronto — onto a helicopter for transport to a trauma center. This was my first and only helicopter ride, and I could not look out the windows.
There was a window in my hospital room, but I couldn’t raise myself to see out. I had only the ceiling: no sun, no clouds, no trees, no cars – you get the picture, there was no picture.When I was a child kept indoors because of illness, weather or misbehavior, I would stand, nose pressed to the windowpane, waiting, watching.
Who enters a room with a window and doesn’t go to it to look out? Who has not sat by a window dreaming, regardless of the view?
<<Car nous sommes où nous ne sommes pas>> — so wrote the poet Pierre-Jean Jouve “because we are always where we are not.”
Mills’ paintings speak to those elements of imagination and curiosity to which Jouve alludes, calm and beautiful, the paintings satisfy our quest for intimacy and respite – but also fulfill the innate wish, as Jouve puts it, “to be where we are not.”
A few paintings challenge the viewer to select among multiple frames. The painting of a window and its view may contain a painting of the same window and view, yielding a sort of mise en abîme. In which frame is the observer? How do we sort it out?

Windows mediate the view. Paradoxically, they both limit the scope of what we see, but also –- in a sense — enlarge it. We can’t see everything because the sill and frame cut us off. We focus, perforce, on the vignette the painter has elected to show us –- a phenomenon, an action, a pattern that we might not otherwise have spotted or appreciated.

There is an easy alternative to the window view – open the door and step out! The only frame out in the open is the one conceived by the visual intelligence and compositional skill of the painter. The artist frames the scene — with trees, buildings, streams, with contours of the land and sky, but there is not the rigid, preordained boundary of a window frame.
The steep, rounded, semi-mountains of the Western Catskills provide unparalleled opportunities for a landscape painter. Mills has only to step out his studio door for a sweeping view of the slope down to the neighboring village. He doesn’t have to roam far to find a paintable scene. Every scene, every vista is more engaging, more mysterious than the one before. Given such an abundance of subject matter, the painter has many options.

This painter chooses well.

– Frederick Lowe is a poet, translator, and essayist. He lives in Down East Maine and in Frenchtown, NJ.

Biography link in pdf form for html version or hard copy, contact gallery


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