Richard Cutler 1944-
Living up north in the Canadian wilderness bred a strong willed mother. My father, a little prince according to my mother when she married him, was curtailed in spirit by the second world war. they sent me to S.C.E.G.S north Sydney in my little straw boater and overall there was not much there for me, except throwing myself into playing footy, I did not want to be a well trained gentleman.
I left school and went to tech doing art for two and a half years (I had been painting at home since the age of 15), the academic training made me disillusioned and I left home. I held down several menial jobs until I entered the safety of the family tailors firm, I worked with my hands mainly in the work room for 25 years.
So now, at 68 years old with three beautiful children (I was married at 40 divorced by 50), but my kids, all in their 20’s now seem to love this odd mixture of actively going back to my catholic roots and making fairly way out paintings. How come I am so happy in my rented retirement home? The answer is I found a surrogate father in John Ogburn, who learnt his art from Orban, who got it from the coffee shops in Paris in the 1900’s. Modern art but based on drawing from life directly. It was heaven to little Richard in the late 60’s going trough the Vietnam war days and side stepping Beatlemania.
You see, I have had 35 yearly exhibitions at the Harrington st co-operative gallery set up by John Ogburn, I have also enjoyed three art pilgrimages overseas. I now enjoy the culmination of 45 years of life drawing to make my mark. Being underpinned philosophically and spiritually by the catholic church’s 2000 years of hunting heretics. I have just finished a large painting 2.5 meters high called “and the lukewarm will be spewed out of gods mouth” (Revelation 3-16) based on the obscenity of child abuse.
I used to say to my kid’s, your mother and I helped to make your body, but who made your personality? Life drawing and concentrating on the gesture or life in the model helps to develop ones artistic personality through empathy. This helps to bring together the ME and my BODY, the relationship between these two being one of the biggest mysteries in life, according to Gabriel Marcel. To draw, one can intuit the coming together of these two, so I can become one being, and so flourish. The eyes and the hand can work together if one bypasses the planning mind, seeking originality, it needs the freeing of the hand and seeing whole. Often after such a session, my eyes tuned, I can turn to larger religious or mythological works more clearly. So this is what John Ogburn has given me, together with a seeing into the complexities of art.
Van Gogh, writing to his Mother, three months before his death, after he had read an article praising his art, said: “success is about the worst thing that can happen to an artist”, “and to Wil, his sister: ” pride, like drink, is intoxicating”. I have always loved the paradox of our human state, one of creatureliness on the one hand (feet in the mud), and our striving with an irascible spirit (head in the clouds), on the other.
I wish you all a good optic nerve,
Richard Cutler, April 2013.