From show "Pastorale" NYU - 2010
Essay by Klaus Kertess
Richard Van Buren (b. 1937 -) now lives and works in Maine not far from Hartnett. He was in the 1966 landmark exhibition Primary Structures in the Jewish Museum in New York. This was the earliest gathering of what was known as Minimalism. Van Buren worked with cut and planed timber architected into clear geometric configurations and coated with fiberglass. In more recent years he dispensed with the wood structure and encouraged the fiberglass' flow into organic, distended pours emblazoned with countless colored pins. The organics of his making seemed to call to the underwater realms of coral. With his move to Maine and proximity to the ocean he expanded his vocabulary and now creates extravagant multi-part sculptures of thermoplastic, acrylic paint, and shells; and the underwater referentiality has become more explicit. They have devolved into a kind of marine hybrid of baroque splendor, now risking vulgarity, now achingly beautiful at once completely artificial and organic. They have captured some of the wonder of the landscape of the deep sea.