Robert Ritter applies techniques, that explore all facets of painting whilst simultaneously staging them sculpturally. Colour is applied to canvas in 30-40 layers, that accumulates and create enigmatic objects that are painting and sculpture at the same time. The last layer is sanded down, lacquered in white or adorned with an illusionistic motif – again using acrylics.
“What is the last layer? The skin? No, it is the tattoo – the last layer on top of the last layer. A closure of the closure. A distillate of dreams, experiences and memories.
Ritter’s tattoo paintings combine a variety of symbols and metaphors, that on one hand stand for a personal context of meaning, such as the canary bird and on the other hand echo well-loved stylistic devices such as the Medusa, often used by renaissance painters like Caravaggio or sculptors like Claudel and Rodin. Roses are references to art nouveau, barb wire references Punk, the skull is a symbol of Rock, Horror and Heavy Metal.
Butterfly wings, tigers, octopi and diamonds relate to neoromanticism – to which Ritter feels a strong affinity. One of the tattooed arms reveals a portrait of the post-expressionist painter Segantini, who’s unbridled passion for painting has been an inspiration and aspiration for Ritter.
To a certain extent, the tattoo paintings reflect Ritters image of self. His paintings are multilayered in terms of content, form and colour. It is a physical perception and experience – concise yet unwieldy, pretty and ugly.”
(Dr. Diana Betzler)