Cape Town artist Richard Scott needs little introduction. Given his growing popularity on the South African and international art market over the past five to ten years, he is fast becoming a household name in the very best sense.
Colourful and figurative, his work mostly portrays female semi-nudes in a variety of playful stances, apart from his other firm favorites such as trees and animals. These images are applied in thick, monochrome colour on large surfaces, couched in prominent black outlines. Appealing to viewers and collectors alike, the works exude a quality which is rather difficult to pinpoint: they contain elements of the cartoon, while also incorporating features of naïve art. They probably also fascinate because of their daring simplicity and directness, illustrating Scott’s indifference to serious academic sanctioning, and unknowingly even provoking and problematising formal classification.
Scott goes his own, honest way, doing what he finds stimulating – discovering the bonus of an appreciative public. Where he will also be exhibiting in Chicago and Italy later this year, he feels that his idiosynchratic style relates to the present image and media culture, thereby making a meaningful contribution to the art discourse of the day.
His latest work is bound to surprise both his steady followers and other art lovers with an interesting shift in his genre making inroads into his established style. The readily identifiable figures still pop up, but this time superimposed on a remarkably rich and full canvas – multi-dimensional and resembling a collage. This style has evolved spontaneously from Scott’s fascination with the marks left on surfaces where he cleans his brushes. Using it as a point of departure, he recreates the background on canvas, adding “found objects” such as old paint brushes, colour charts, inscriptions and miscellaneous trinkets from the consumer culture. In true post-modernistic fashion, the artist makes his presence known in his work.
Scott reiterates, however, that the end product is not premeditated or intellectual. Having made his mark on the local and international art scene, he now experiences a greater sense of freedom and confidence that allows him to explore alternative ways of engaging with his medium. As he revels in the fun of making art for a living, he uses whatever is streaming from his subconscious and whatever objects make their way to his studio. Scott sees this particular body of work as a transitional stage, showing that he is not yet ready or willing to leave the figure studies or other solitary and/or multiple images behind.
Here we have a self-trained artist with a mission, whose paintings never fail to stop viewers in their tracks. Whether his work is interpreted as anti-art, or art venturing into a new direction, it bears the stamp of a gifted individualist who takes little heed of what the critics might have to say. Visitors from Belgium, Germany, Italy and further afield are proud to include Richard Scott in their collections, which explains the keen following via the internet. It seems that for Scott, the stars are predicting a splendid ride to the top.