Michael Rich’s early years were spent in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and as a young boy, in Massachusetts. Rich grew up surrounded by the waters of Nantucket and the South Shore - nourished by childhood recollections of the dramatic beauty of the landscape and the spectacularly powerful weather elements. It would be these influences that would set the tenor and vision for Rich’s life as an artist.
A profound connection to the Mediterranean light and landscape would be unearthed during Graduate studies in Cortona, Italy. This new environment captivated Rich, returning often, including a 2007 sabbatical in Tuscania, to investigate and interpret the Italian peninsula. Rich’s combined relationships with the ubiquitous landscape, and a dedication to yoga and Eastern philosophies and art, provide the viewer with a compelling vision. It is the myriad of Rich’s sumptuous influences which we see unravel before our eyes with compositions which resonate with a basic balance.
Rich has the unique ability to simultaneously capture and interpret contemplation and celebration. He approaches his art intuitively and viscerally, which he combines with his visual experiences - conferring upon the viewer, Rich’s own brand of ‘distinct abstraction’. As an artist and scholar, both his subject and his materials contribute to his work. His contemplation of nature is reflected in his paintings as he investigates harmony through his landscapes and the natural rhythms of color.
The surface of Rich’s paintings, the color and his medium - oil and wax - at once achieve the distinct and captivating subtleties of opacity and translucency. The fact that his paintings are made with wax is a necessary aspect of his work. Rich’s paintings have elegantly creamy, luminous surfaces with subtly brilliant colors and satiny sheen. There is a complicated simplicity and drama in the paintings.