Monroe. 1973. 8 " x 10" Graphite on Illustration Board. Collection
of George Rodriguez. The inspiration for this drawing was a parallel to
Botticelli's painting of the ancient myth of Venus rising from the sea.
Barrymore and his
Muse. 1973. 11" x 14". Graphite on Illustration Board. Private Collection.
Theatrical and Film idol John Barrymore is seen through the glass of an
alcohol bottle. In the reflections of the bottle is the figure of a woman,
representing Barrymore's muse or source of inspiration.
the Price of Admission - Jean Harlow. 1973. 8" x 10". Collection of
Margaret Van Der Ahe. This drawing with its keyhole in Harlow's body and
the crumpled ticket stub overlapping the image represents the belief that
ticket holders are entitled to participate in the private life of the public
The "Idols" Series
- Errol Flynn. 1977. 8" x 10". In the "Idols" series (44 paintings
in all), I used the theme of masks for two reasons. In both primitive and
highly developed cultures, using masks as part of the drama art form to
advance clearly the story is commonplace. I extended this use to include
the stereotyping of performers in Hollywood's "Golden Age" and rendered
the faces of numerous performers in this mask style. The visual source
for this use was Alberto Vargas' Greta Garbo rendered as if Garbo was made
from precious jewels, and the high front lit portraits of George Hurrell
that, by their shading, eliminated the eyes of the subjects, making them
more form than flesh. The Idols series expanded into half figures and then
finally, full figures, all using the mask imagery for their faces.
I was also influenced
by the plaster makeup department casts of stars' faces. These casts emphasize
form, not personality, and make clear that in come cases, their personalities
defined their images not their appearances.
Collection of the
- Jean Harlow. 1978. 30" x 60". One of the full length portraits of
the mask series which included Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Esther
Williams, Carole Lombard and Betty Grable. The half-figures included Joan
Crawford, Lana Turner, Greta Garbo and Fred Astaire. The individual face
masks included John Gilbert, Robert Taylor, Norma Shearer and Judy Garland.
These paintings were heavily influenced
by the dramatic lighting in photography of George Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair
Bull and Otto Dyar, whose photo of Carole Lombard from "Bolero" was the
inspiration for the full length series.
The cinematography of Josef Von
Sternberg was also an influence. The portrait photographers at Paramount
Studios who were assigned to the Marlene Dietrich films directed by Von
Sternberg indicated that they were instructed to use the same lighting
he used to illuminate Dietrich in the films ("Morocco,""Shanghai Express,""The
Devil is a Woman") for their photographs - and why not? The high contrast
lit, sculptural lighting Von Sternberg used to flatter Dietrich was just
as suitable for the photos. The images of Dietrich emerging from a black
background, all cheekbones and eyes, are eternal.
The half-figure portraits were inspired
by the color photography of Bob Coburn, particularly his images of Rita
Hayworth. In many cases, the sources for the paintings were black and white,
requiring that I adapt the works to color. In this area I used the color
approach of the "better than real life" technicolor of the 1940's.
Collection of the artist.
|"Religious Experiences" - Continuing
The combination of religion and
film interests me greatly. The way in which fans attach themselves with
a fervor approaching and sometimes exceeding worship is a powerful phenomenon.
The fans are not the only people consumed with these images, so are some
of the icons themselves. Joan Crawford as "Our Lady of Perpetual Determination"
in my painting done in a mock-religious style/Gothic style uses the sacred
heart imagery so present in religious art, and adds film strips to represent
Crawford's own fervor for her image and career.
Collection of Ronald Steen.
by Roger G. James
Representation by THE ORLANDO GALLERY
• 818 789-6012
Resume - Richard Adkins
"The Art of Collage" - Gerald Brommer
The Michigan State University Quartery
After Dark Magazine
Los Angeles Magazine
New West Magazine
Art in America
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibits
Orlando Gallery (Representation)
Downey Museum of Art
Palos Verdes Museum of Art
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
Not Really Gallery, New York
Mr. and Mrs. Hal Kanter
Eva Marie Saint
Security Pacific Collection - London
Work of Richard Adkins