Rick Becker


Rick is a self taught artist who started painting full time in 1989.  His first solo exhibition was at the Sanlam Centre, Pretoria, in 1989. Since then, he has had numerous solo and joint exhibitions throughout South Africa.

In 1990, he was invited to participate in a joint exhibition and art workshop in De Bron, Holland. He continued to live and paint in Holland for 6 months and during this time focused on commissioned abstract pieces.

Upon returning to South Africa, he moved to Cape Town and apart from painting was involved in other art forms such as ceramics and designing. His preferred medium  is oils/acrylics on stretched canvas. The Karoo is Rick’s main source of inspiration for his landscapes. His works manage to capture the solitude of the region, and seemingly simple images such as a rundown farmhouse or rusty old car wreck, evoke a sense of nostalgia in the viewer. His abstract works range from geometrically orientated works, to loose, thickly textured pieces, sometimes making use of an encaustic technique which fuses pigments and objects, and also allows for some translucency.

"Inspiration for my landscapes is drawn from the Karoo. There is something about the Karoo that resonates with my soul. The vast space, crisp skies, unusual rock formations and “koppies”, coupled with the solitude of the area enable one to find rest from the hectic and often destructive way of life considered the ‘norm’. The sky is God’s canvas, and the colours you will often see during a Karoo sunset seem surreal; hue’s of oranges, pinks, greens, purples and reds combine in one sunset ignoring all art- schools rules of colour combinations. There are so many images apart from the natural beauty of the area that I find appealing - farm houses, simple labourer’s cottages, a windmill, a rusty wreck, washing hanging on a barbed wire fence etc.

My abstract pieces differ in style and execution. Some are geometric, clinical, painted smoothly and usually planned to some extent. Others are very spontaneous; the paint sometimes applied thickly with a palette knife. Alternatively I allow the paint to run, and will use diverse methods and tools to create a specific piece. Often I will end up with a piece that I had no intention of painting, and am just as surprised at the end result as anyone else. In fact I feel like a spectator in the process. Images are there: waiting to be recognized and that is exciting. Passion must precede technical perfection, for it is easier to have the first and acquire the latter, than vice versa.

For that reason, I try to remain true to myself there are days when I simply cannot paint, and if I do, the artwork will acquaint itself with the blade of an axe. However, when “it’s happening” and the inspiration is there, nothing else matters at that moment in time.

His geometric abstract style has been described below:

”The Cubists led the path towards abstraction about 100 years ago. But it seems Rick Becker has done what few have dared to do: taken the art form and reinvented it.” “…..Beckers works….have serious echoes of Picasso and Braque at their analytical best.” “Somehow he manages to paint a world of cubes, connected by lines and floating in space, with the straight-edged precision of a surgeon.”  The Herald Arts Correspondant

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