Los Angeles

Richard Poole

Ryder Gallery

If there is monotony in Poole’s work, it stems from what appears to be his boredom with existence, and this permeates his subject-matter, much of which discloses man’s inner loneliness and isolation, often in the midst of pleasures and plenty. This static quality is especially apparent in “Race Track,” where both horse and rider seem frozen into place, and there is a curious lack of freedom and mobility in the animal and his master as well. In a sense he is a social commentator, and yet his most dramatic pictures are those in which his subjectivity is most extreme. “Cantina” has overtones of German Expressionism, and the almost raw reds and yellows of the cafe decor contrasted with the stark blacks and deep greens in the clothing of the figures, whose faces have absorbed all the high color of the artificial light but whose expressions remain darkened by inner gloom, adds a touch of ambiguity that gives bite to what might otherwise be a commonplace picturesque scene. Poole’s color sense is very personal, and although there is nothing in his work that is startling or “nouveau,” he paints what he paints with a directness that is admirably honest and forthright.

Estelle Kurzen