Richard and friends with Davis, Californial Mural

Richard and friends with Davis, Californial Mural Portrait of Richard Whitten with Orrery Orrery Orrery Detail Dellschau Bumblebee Dellschau Bumblebee Detail Dellschau Bumblebee Studio Installation View of Studio
View of Studio View of Studio View of Studio View of Studio View of Studio View of Studio View of Studio View of Studio


Richard Whitten grew up in Manhattan, NY. Richard Whitten earned a B.A. in Economics from Yale University and an M.F.A. in Painting from the University of California at Davis where he studied with both Wayne Thiebaud and Robert Arneson. He has had numerous exhibitions on both coasts. Notable are major solo exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington, the Newport Art Museum in Newport, Rhode Island, and the University of Maine Museum of Art. He is represented by ArtMora Gallery, NY and Seoul, Korea; Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA; the William Scott Gallery, Provincetown, MA; and the Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport, MA. He is presently a Professor of Painting and former Chair of the Art Department at Rhode Island College.

Artist’s Statement

My paintings are about intellectual play.

The paintings are meant to be games in themselves – games to be played in the imagination. The viewers are invited to interact with the painting by visually “exploring” the image and “touching” the objects depicted in it. The challenge for the viewers is, without knowing "the rules", to propel the image into motion with sight and thought alone.

The paintings, ranging from palm-sized to mural-sized shaped panels, fall into two categories: those that depict invented toys or machines in imagined classical architecture and those that act as game-boards themselves.

My painting craft allows me to “create” space in front of, behind, and on the surface of the painting. The viewers are meant to have an almost physical sense of the transition through the painted surface¬– to feel as if a hand could pass through the painting into a world on the other side.

While the painting surfaces are flat, the viewers eyes persistently say otherwise. My goal is to have the viewers, through questioning their perception of reality, see themselves see.

Technical Information:

These paintings are on birch plywood panels that are cut to shape. The image is entirely flat. All sense of dimensionality is an illusion.

detail of mouse in painting

Top of Page