Richard Heinsohn American, b. 1961


“Heinsohn’s colorful, dynamic paintings synthesize abstract expressionism, surrealism and conceptualism, and draw inspiration from artists like Goya, Rauschenberg and Duchamp to convey a singular astuteness, both aesthetically and conceptually, that grounds his work firmly in the contemporary.”


- Melinda Baker

Inspired by the unknowable, Richard Heinsohn seeks to create endlessly intriguing worlds on canvas. Heinsohn once saw “an entire galaxy” through an electron microscope, and this sight served as his stimulus. The artist’s paintings reflect the small scale of humans and their outsized desire to control their surroundings. Working with acrylic paint blended with sand, sawdust, and objects found in his studio, Heinsohn creates canvases akin to ecosystems, engaging themes of decay, transformation, and coexistence. In Heinsohn’s words, his use of bold colors “goes well beyond a merely retinal effect,” reaching the viewer both intellectually and emotionally. Color and material relations in his work parallel human life on both a macro and micro scale, representing nature’s complexities through abstraction.

Heinsohn holds a B.F.A. in painting and drawing from The University of Georgia in Athens. There he studied with renowned abstract painter, Herbert Creecy, who became a key influence and lifelong friend. In 1986 Heinsohn moved to New York City where he would live and work for fifteen years. In 1989 he gained the attention of renowned art dealer, Allan Stone who included him in several group shows at Allan Stone Gallery, most notable of which was the Summer Group Show of 1995.  In this show Heinsohn was included with Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Eva Hess, Richard Estes, Robert Ryman and other notable artists from Allan Stone’s collection. Allan Stone (1932-2006) well known as one of the world’s premier and most visionary collectors of art, collected Heinsohn's paintings and supported him extensively.

Richard currently lives and works in Nashville, TN. In 2007, he received the "Critic's Pick" from The Nashville Scene for his solo exhibit, The Paradox of Change at Estel Gallery, which included his vibrant, cratered paintings. He was also featured in The Tennessean for this exhibition, which raised questions about destruction, creation and transformation. This marked Heinsohn’s return to painting after several years of composing, recording and performing music. Heinsohn's work includes abstract paintings, wall reliefs and hybrids of painting and photography. He works with burlap, found and appropriated objects and has been noted for his thickly textured, cratered surfaces and bold colors.


Thematically, Heinsohn's work addresses a range of sociocultural issues and aesthetic concerns. Since 1990, he has made substantial works specifically focused on the Anthropocene as well as turbulent abstractions which serve as visual metaphors for cataclysm. He has also worked extensively with color and texture, illusory space and ambiguity of form in numerous works centered on affect and the experiential as phenomena which trigger imaginative stimulus. Heinsohn's work has now been shown extensively and included in prominent collections.


Heinsohn has recently been included in shows alongside Thornton Dial, Herbert Creecy, Michael David and others. His work is now in the permanent collection of CRP, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Toledo, Spain.


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