Rick Briggs M.F.A. '92 is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow for his work as a painter. As a resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since the early 1980s, Rick has focused on his art-making, but has also spent time as a self-employed house-painter. He soon found that his bread-on-the-table work was influencing his art-making. Trained as an abstract painter both at Purchase and when he earned his BFA at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA, he now moved toward a more representational style. He took an image from a 1960s coloring book of newlyweds fixing up their new home and created a surrogate self-portrait. He developed a narrative that cast "Painter Man" as the hard-luck day laborer with a dream. He brought the tools and materials of his trade into the work, using drop cloths, with paint splatters and plaster build ups.
Rick is an artist who likes to move freely between representation and abstraction. In his artist's statement he says, "I've long believed that artistic freedom trumps signature style. But within the rubric of that freedom, I've sought to clarify ideas by working in loose-knit series bound by common variables." "What I'm trying to do in my studio is to surprise myself. If I can make myself smile, or better yet laugh, then I've probably made a decent painting. Ultimately, painting is about freedom and mystery," he says.
Rick has shown at the Yale University School of Art, Islip Art Museum, Sarah Bowen Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, Paula Cooper Gallery, Dorsky Gallery and others.