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E S O T E R I C  R E A L I S M
OBSTRUCTIONS - INNER / OUTER - CUT OUTS - MASKS - WINDOWS & SHADOWS

In 1974 I made a spontaneous drawing with geometric shapes imposing their will on the figure (see fig. #1 below). I call these geometric shapes "Obstructions" and began to explore all their implications and associations. The strong interplay between rigid shapes and the fluid organic lines of the captive squeezed figures, held great potential to express on a formal level, many of the esoteric ideas I was studying (see fig. #2 below).

On another level, the images represent an agonizing condition of helplessness and unconsciousness, hinting at the conflicted relationship of humanity vs. technology, or the divine battle between the spirit and the flesh. Much like the Cubists, my figures are also reinvented, but now as a direct result of cause and effect; powerful directional forces; binding limitations; and gravity, stretching, squeezing and pulling the figure into a different "state of being" (see fig. #3 below). 

 

Initially, this obstructed figure represented a kind of blame, a force affecting us from outside of ourselves, outside of our control.  As this idea evolved, two new ideas emerged. In the first one, the Obstructions disappeared; and the human figure itself became "the container", with an inner figure (essence) painfully unaligned within its outer shell (see fig. #4 below). But now, the expressed meaning is clearly an inner process, no blame just "inner work", as the figure struggles to normalize, and align the inner with the outer (authenticity).

 

The second transformation changed the Obstructions from a positive, solid geometric object, into negative space, a hole, that can no longer exert any force to distort the figure, but now it offers new spatial possibilities and adds another layer of complexity. These "Cut-Outs" reveal an unseen inner-world, and create opportunity to juxtapose the inner with the outer; and create tension between the surface of the painting and the interior pictorial space; between the parts of the figure and the whole. As the figure is broken down into smaller pieces and parts, perhaps on its passage to the quantum level, I think of the movement from the physical realm into the realm of light. (see fig. #5 below).   

 

Some of the cutout paintings create a kind of "virtual reality", asking the viewer to see what’s revealed in the inner space of the window, and then, to use their own imagination to see what the hidden regions of the paintings look like and imagine the image whole. This is a very interesting idea which I continue to explore.

After 10 years of creating many different esoteric drawings, one day I spontaneously drew a figure with the inner figure coming out of its mouth, out of it's outer shell (see fig. #6 below). It was so obvious when it finally appeared yet it took me a decade to finally see it materialize. Once expressed I felt a freedom to expand my exploration and express more of what it means to be human and alive, expressing all kinds of emotional, intellectual and psychological content. 

 

I coined the term Esoteric Realism, to contain and represent this large body of work. This work captures something fundamental about humanity, and essential about human suffering. It represents a painful condition of man being stuck in an unconscious state of being, unable to see it or change it, and in this unconscious state, doing great damage to the perfect balance of the natural world, and man's ability to protect of life on Earth. Esoteric Realism is a contemporary portrait of this inner struggle to separate fiction from fact, and face the Truth.

Fig. #2

All content by Richard Gins

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