Figurative works from 1974
Making the repeated images:
By the late 1960's roneoing, as a method of running off multiple copies of a document, was fast becoming obsolete. This meant that Richard Larter could acquire, quite cheaply, a secondhand roneo stencil cutting machine (Gakken Fax). Any image fed into the machine was scanned and then burnt, by electronic sparks, into into a plastic stencil intended for roneoing. As can be seen in this exhibition, using these stencils Larter could repeat on a painting any image of his choosing as often as he liked. He used paint rollers to force acrylic paint through the plastic stencils and could achieve - if he liked, and usually did - rougher versions of an image as the stencil became worn.
About this exhibition:
Most of the canvases in this exhibition were painted before Richard Larter, his wife Pat and their four children were to set sail from Sydney to New Zealand where he was to take up the position of Visiting Lecturer in Painting at Auckland University. Three of the canvases:- Image Bank, Power Blow and O Jam were painted in New Zealand. Thirty years ago these canvases were all rolled up and put away. They are exhibited now for the first time.
Many of the paintings feature repeated stencilled images. It becomes immediately obvious that these repeated faces and figures work brilliantly as the constituent elements in what can readily be construed as abstract paintings of great vitality. Particularly stimulating in this regard are Fold away - Time out (cat.11) and Full Menu (cat.8). But, more importantly, it seems to me, these multiple images build up a context that, if not less sensual, is certainly more far reaching than any of the images in isolation would lead us to expect. A here-and-now context convincingly evocative of the powerful and pervasive aura of woman in the Western world comes to life. And it is a lively, loving and lovely aura that is evoked. The painted (as opposed to the stencilled) faces - known or anonymous - are endowed with an iconic status far beyond any significance they (the images) command outside Larter's paintings. For me, even the image of Marilyn Monroe (Mm Mayhap cat.1) takes on deeper resonances. This could not be achieved with images of men; not with saints or seraphim; for does not the image of Mary stir in us deeper intimations of universal love than even the most androgenous Christ?