ON MAY 11, David Richard Gallery opens “Elliott Lloyd: Color Wave, Paintings from 1973 to 1977” and “Lester Rapaport: Convergence” at its exhibition space in New York’s East Harlem neighborhood.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Lloyd studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and arrived in New York in 1961. Throughout the ’60s, Lloyd rigorously planned the palette and composition of his paintings, which he achieved through pouring diluted pigment onto unprimed canvas. In the early ’70s, however, Lloyd pivoted to a looser, more spontaneous practice. Wanting to free his work from the wall’s inevitable interaction with stretched canvas, he began painting off the stretcher, allowing an increased autonomy of gesture and shape and size of canvas. This is where “Color Wave” begins, with the artist creating highly dynamic abstractions rife with energetic impulse and improvisational interactions of flowing color. Many of the works in the exhibition, which Lloyd finished and taped off, have never before been stretched or presented.
Untitled (22), a 1973 acrylic on canvas, feels like a world of unadulterated color. Its poured paint is densely packed throughout the composition, its rich pigments commingling and marbleizing to brilliant effect. Passages of white drips feel like pockets of light dancing on its surface. In Untitled (21), a 1974 acrylic on canvas, Lloyd’s hand is more palpable, with thick strokes of grays and greens competing for frontality. In Untitled (12), a 1973 acrylic on canvas, varying densities of poured pigments create dazzling passages of near-iridescence.
Rapaport, a native New Yorker, began his career in figurative painting and drawing. In the ’60s, he switched almost entirely to abstract painting, which has remained the focus of his career. The exhibition features work from two bodies of work, “Convergence,” which Rapaport created in 1980–81, and “New Chapter,” created between 2014 and 2018. Both series are anchored by single bands of color, stretched through the center of the canvas.
“Convergence” marked Rapaport’s return to paint-ing after nearly a decade’s break. The cathartic works in the series feature four stripe-like pours of color, effectively dividing the canvases into quadrants. Affair (1981, acrylic on canvas), a powerful composition in red and black, is joined in the show by Beckers Hero (1981, acrylic on canvas), which boosts a mustard-yellow foreground sub-divided by painterly stripes of red and blue that splinter and thin towards their ends.
“A New Chapter” was born out of Rapaport’s long-held meditation practice. With a softer palette than “Convergence,” the works in the series feature a single band of poured paint in their center, with a floating orb of color on one or both of its sides. Eyefull (2014, acrylic on canvas) has a mottled, softly-hued ground with a bright pink and purple band of color that drips to the canvas’ bottom. A deep red circle, reminiscent of Tantric painting, rises to its side like the sun.
The exhibitions are on view through June 8.