September 9 – October 25, 2023
Roll Up Project is pleased to present paintings by Gregory Rick. Rick paints everyday life in the inner city, with a distinct eye for veterans, war and peace, US foreign policy, and police policies at home. Figures tumble atop each other amidst cityscapes and landscapes, sometimes in conflict, other times seemingly in play fighting. Rick’s astute observations of human nature and social dynamics come to life in rich color palettes that jockey for attention and spark with energy.
In the window on Harrison Street, a woman dominates the composition, joyfully holding figures in her hands as a policeman in riot gear shields himself behind a building full of people. Her face and head are covered in hair, her belly bulges over yellow shorts, and a coconut bra loosely covers her chest. She could be a movie monster, oversized and careening across a cityscape. Alternately, she could represent the way women are perceived as a threat if they don’t conform to traditional beauty standards. Either way, the policeman’s defensive stance makes it clear that she holds power and is a force to be reckoned with.
In the Third Street windows, Rick displays three smaller scale paintings that revel in moments of peace and reflection. In the first, two women sit side by side and look at each other. The text “to see your face in the moonlight, and to know I’m safe” is written across the bottom. A second painting depicts a figure with eyes closed, sitting near a window. In the third, two horses face each other in a dark landscape below a striped animal that is both tiger and tigon (the product of a tiger and lion mating). A banner with text appears above the three paintings, with the phrase, “ ‘to love women’ for a man to love a woman equally…please…” Seen together, they form a dreamlike tableau about love and connection. Rick’s plea for equality underscores the genuine respect depicted in the three paintings in the window.
About the Artist
Gregory Rick was born in 1981 and grew up in South Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received his BFA from California College of the Arts in 2019 and graduated from Stanford University with an MFA in Art Practice in 2022. Developing a historical imagination and fondness for drawing stories, Rick collapses history while confronting personal trauma. His works exist as reflections of his personal experience, while in dialogue with the wider world. Rick has received the Artadia Award, the SECA Art Award, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Hamaguchi Scholarship at CCA, the Nathan Oliveira fellowship, and the Jack K. and Gertrude Murphy Award. He has exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States.
Rick’s work comes from personal experience but is not entirely personal. Where myth gives voice to the underbelly, the lumpen in tandem displaying the familiar and grandiose. His work tethers together seemingly opposing ideas as he teeters between the personal, the historical and the political. He paints on a shaky historical line cemented in humility and conviction and occupies his pictures with characters who serve as archetypes in conjunction with memory and self-exploration reflecting on the absurdness and monumentality of history.
Learn more about Gregory Rick at gregrick.com.