Richard Tsao (b. 1954, Bangkok, Thailand. Lives and works in New York) is well known for using a process oriented, labor intensive approach and particular aesthetic of beauty in creating his paintings and works on paper.
With Tsao’s well-known “flood room” paintings on canvas and wood, his unrestrained use of color seems to appropriately present itself in just the right balance. He manipulates pure pigment with an alchemist’s instincts in an approach that leaves his work vibrantly colored. With pigment thoroughly encrusting the canvas or wood supports and with sections of the encrustations sticking out well beyond the supports’ edges, Tsao’s works are less painted than accumulated—they may be years in the making.
Tsao’s Round series monotypes of the 1990s are circles, discs of color, which do not seem fixed in the physical world. These superb monotypes take full advantage of the possibilities of transferring an oil painting onto paper. In Tsao’s signature paintings (many-layered works created in Tsao’s specially designed paint flood-room), the physicality of brilliantly colored paint also becomes architecture; in contrast, these Round works are the distillation of the spirit of color.
Born and raised in Bangkok, Richard Tsao moved to New York in 1976, where he currently lives and works. His 1995 breakout first solo exhibition in New York at the Queens Museum featured Tsao’s color saturated multi-layered “flood room” paintings described as “chromatically opulent, process-intensive abstraction” by Holland Cotter who reviewed the show in The New York Times. Since the mid-1990s, Tsao has shown extensively in the United States and Asia. Recent solo exhibitions include: Richard Tsao: Green Acres, Art Projects International, New York (2021); Richard Tsao: Monotypes, Art Projects International, New York (2020); Richard Tsao: Works from Industry City, Art Projects International, New York (2014); Richard Tsao: Nam Wan, Art Projects International, New York (2010). His work is represented in major collections including the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts Foundation Collection, and Montefiore Fine Art Collection, New York.
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