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Richard Mock Abstract painting Song

Abstract Painter and Linocut Printmaker

CREATIVE PROCESS visits the studio of artist
Richard Mock in New York City.

Editor's Note: Throughout the 80's, Mock produced editorial graphics for the Op-Ed page of the New York Times. Richard Mock worked with the Wall Street Journal on a special series of illustrations and was commissioned by the United Nations to produce graphics dealing with issues such as child abuse, population control & AIDS prevention. Toward the end of his life, Mock produced a series of editorial linocuts chronicling the events in the aftermath of September 11th.

This studio visit interview was made in 1999, with some image updates from later years. Richard Mock died in New York City in 2006.

Richard Mock: My painting and my printmaking serve two very different purposes.

Richard Mock
"Song", 2001
Abstract Painting
Oil on Linen, 36 x 32 inches

Richard Mock abstract painting Gowanus Rain Day

"Richard Mock pursues the vocation of spiritual rebel with passion, humility and a profound sense of morality. Yet he has not abandoned his commitment to civil society. Through his political illustrations, his installation, his activism and his teaching in poor communities, he has put himself in the front line of the battle for social and political justice. Mock's paintings reaffirm the central place of spirituality and beauty in art versus the soul-less institutional or commercial "realisms" of the marketplace. They are especially important in these dark times because they have the capacity to elevate the mind and heal the spirit."--James Harithas in the notes to the Richard Mock Exhibition "Hits & Kisses", ARTCAR Museum, Houston, Texas, 2001

Richard Mock
Gowanus Rain Day (left)
Abstract Painting, 2001
Oil on Linen, 38" x 32"

Richard Mock linoleum cut relief print  Massacre of Innocence

Richard Mock: My graphic work--the linocuts specifically--are my instant response to current events. Prints have a long history of being the art of the working man and the revolutionary. I'm interested in prints as editorial commentary. Newspapers used to publish editorial prints regularly. In recent years many have become cautious about offending people and creating controversy.

Richard Mock
"Massacre of Innocence"
Linoleum Cut Print, 2002

Editor's Note: Look to the work of Hogarth in 17th century England, Goya in 18th century Spain and Daumier in 19th century France for antecedents to Mock's incisive graphics.

Richard Mock with his printing press

Richard Mock: I don't make preparatory drawings for the linocuts. For me, the cutting is just heavy drawing. The cutting slows the process down and my brain can automatically compose. The physical force of cutting is conveyed in the image.

Richard Mock in his Studio with Printing Press

Richard Mock with hand-colored linocut

Richard Mock:I like responding to an event with a print and being able to put it out there--immediately--using the Net.

Richard Mock
New American Still Life
Hand-colored Linoleum Cut Print
November 2001
More September 11th Linocuts

Richard Mock: The 80's messed up the art world. During that period, art prices became artificially inflated. Artists now treat art as a profession--worrying about how they present themselves as much as about the art they make. It's a troubling sign for a culture when art becomes too removed from the people and when artists forget they are workers.

Richard Mock detail of abstract painting Rapture

Detail of Richard Mock painting
Rapture, 1998
Oil on Canvas 24 x 22 inches

Richard Mock: In painting, there has to be a physical connection from the painter through the paint itself or it just doesn't work.

Richard Mock moving paintings in Red Hook, Brooklyn studio

Richard Mock: It took me a long time to accept the need for structure in my painting. Now I feel an empathy with mathematicians and physicists in taking pleasure from order. There's a meditative aspect to order and to rhythm in painting.

Richard Mock abstract painting Red Hook Garden

Richard Mock: My paintings are about painting--they speak for themselves. Unlike my social commentary graphics; you don't need any context to understand them.

Richard Mock
"Red Hook Garden", 1993
Oil on Canvas, 60 x 72 inches

Richard Mock: At University of Michigan, I studied lithography and block printing under Emil Weddige. At the New York Studio School, I studied with Philip Guston and at the San Francisco Art Institute, I studied painting and drawing under Richard Diebenkorn. Living here in Red Hook--near the water--has also influenced my painting. You can see my working above the picture plane with the paint floating over the surface of the canvas. The relationship to the Impressionists is fairly obvious.

Richard Mock abstract painting Amazon
Richard Mock
A Mad Sea Captain Charts a Course Up the Amazon
Oil on Canvas, 72 x 60 inches

Richard Mock: Painting is always doing something I've never done before. It's always making something new. The tantalizing thing about painting is the constant sense that you're almost there--almost realizing everything you want.

Richard Mock photograph of the artist in his studio

Richard Mock: My printmaking frees my mind to paint sublime, beautiful abstractions.

Richard Mock

Richard Mock color print of Ernest Hemingway

Richard Mock
Hemingway in Africa 1999
Hand-colored Variable Edition Linocut Print

Richard Mock Editorial Linocuts (1999-2003) Archive

See editorial illustrations by 4th graders in Mr. Mock's
Art Club at PS6

Richard Mock is represented in public collections including:
New York Public Library
Museum of Modern Art (New York)
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)
The Brooklyn Museum (New York)
Zimmerli Art Museum (New Jersey)
National Museum of American Art (Washington, DC)
Museum of Fine Arts (Boston)
Worchester Museum of Art (Massachusetts)
High Museum of Art (Atlanta)
Fort Worth Art Museum (Texas)
Roswell Museum (New Mexico)
Huntington Museum (West Virginia)
Plains Art Museum (North Dakota)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis)
University of Michigan Museum of Art
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery (Nebraska)
Spencer Museum of Art (Kansas)
Australia National Art Museum (Canberra)
Museo de Monterrey (Mexico)
Victoria & Albert Museum (London)
Alliance Capital Management (NYC)
ARCO (Los Angeles)
Bank of America (California)
Chase Manhattan Bank (NYC)
Prudential Insurance (New Jersey)
Readers Digest (Pleasantville, NY)

Richard Mock has an extensive exhibition and publications history.
One-Person Exhibitions (abbreviated list):
ARTCAR Museum, (Houston, Texas)
Anne Baxter Contemporary Art (NYC)
Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY)
Brooke Alexander (NYC)
Gallery of Visual Arts, University of Montana (Missoula)
Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas)
Huntington Museum (West Virginia)
Bennington College Art Gallery (Vermont)
Houston Contemporary Art Museum (Texas)
John Leon Gallery (NYC)
Holly Solomon Gallery (NYC)
Louis Meisel Gallery (NYC)

Richard Mock syndicated his linocut editorial images to 55 newspapers, nationally and internationally and his illustrations appeared frequently in Populi the United Nations Population Fund periodical.

Richard Mock shredded currency Money Lure

Richard Mock's whimsical shredded currency sculptures called "Money Lures" were included in the touring exhibition:
"Show Me the Money, The Dollar as Art"
Naples Museum of Art, Naples, Florida
April 2 -June 2, 2002
Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California
June 19-September 15, 2002
Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Fresno, California
February 27-April 20, 2003


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