Rick Amor: Exhibition

Castlemaine Art Gallery

Walk into Rick Amor’s show and you soon become engulfed by a deathly silence. Surrounded on all sides by large dark brooding oil paintings, pregnant with menace and foreboding. The titles do nothing to dispel the overwhelming sense of gloom.


‘Silent River’ – A rotting boat carcass wallows in the shallows. A lonesome figure peers into the murky depths, no doubt contemplating his own mortality.
‘Windowless Building’ – A monolithic edifice stands like a tomb amongst the glittering lights of New York City.
‘The Journey’ – In the middle of the dark blue ocean an enormous crag casts its shadow upon a tiny yacht trying to sneak past unnoticed.

Are we starting to get the picture?
‘Empire of the Sea’- The usual suspect, a portly middle aged gentleman is dwarfed by a large round object, encrusted with rust and barnacles, dripping with rotting seaweed – just dredged up from the lost city of Atlantis.
‘Quiet Days’ – A glimmer of light illuminates the dust as it settles on the ivory tusk of a woolly mammoth skull as it languishes in the bowels of some museum after lying frozen in the ice for 10,000 years.

Looking at the studies that precede the major works it is quite fascinating to see how the artist transforms the image as he wrestles with it. He makes a quick and lively sketch of some harmless everyday object lying about the place and by enlarging it ten fold engenders an awesome thing that seems to humble the poor innocent bystander. In the journey from drawing to masterwork all life and gaiety is squeezed from the image till it becomes quiet and still and eerie and timeless. Even cresting waves look like they will never reach the sand.

The sun is removed from high in the sky and placed just beyond the horizon in an endless sunset that repeats itself from one canvas to the next. As the last ray of light disappears, it dawns upon our pensive little friend that the enveloping darkness may well last for all eternity.

A final word of advice:
If you are contemplating suicide, I’d give this show a wide birth.

Cecil Snodgrass – Art Critic