Richard Seehausen (b. 1951), American Vacation, 1985; oil on canvas, 102 3/4 x 77 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches; Gift of the Artist, 2016
Richard Seehausen’s figurative art converts snapshot imagery of middle class life to a grand scale, adding Pop Art, illustrative coloration and brushwork. It also suggests the work of artists he admires, including Francis Bacon and German Expressionists. American Vacation, with its blood red shadows, sulfurous sky, and brash brushwork, debunks the myth of the happy nuclear family. The mother gazes at the viewer oblivious to the dangling child’s discomfort, while the father, who resembles Lee Harvey Oswald, points outward accusingly.
After earning a B.F.A. from Buffalo State in 1975, Seehausen was a regular at Hallwalls and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Western New York exhibitions during the mid-to-late 1970s. He moved to Brooklyn in 1981 with the support of a Creative Artists Public Service Program (CAPS) grant funded by the New York State Council on the Arts. In 1980, Lisa Phillips awarded him the Grand Prize at The Buffalo News 100th anniversary celebration exhibition, which led to his representation in New York by Monique Knowlton Gallery from 1981 through the 1990s. His art has been shown in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago with colleagues associated with “the Pictures Generation” such as Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, and David Salle. —NW/AB