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Opening Reception: Howard Rackliffe

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Howard Rackliffe, Listening, ca.1965, Oil on masonite, 19 x 18 inches, Courtesy of the New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of Linda Cheverton Wick and Walter Wick in memory of Elizabeth Page Wick

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Thursday, February 2, 2017 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Howard Rackliffe

Rackliffe lived in New Britain sporadically throughout his life (from 1917–1940, 1951–1955, and again after 1959), during which time he explored diverse creative pursuits, including poetry, music composition, modern dance, and above all, visual art. A self-taught artist, Rackcliffe adopted a painterly style that was unique and idiosyncratic yet in dialogue with the modern aesthetics of his day, as characterized by the works of Albert Pinkham Ryder, Arthur Dove, and Marsden Hartley, whom he admired. Employing rich, earthy tones applied with vigorous, tactile strokes, Rackcliffe’s paintings convey both the material solidity and the emotional resonance of their subjects—whether landscapes, flowers, or self-portraits. The artist utilized an array of media including acrylic paint, gouache, enamel, cray pas, and ink, which he transformed into raw, rhapsodic compositions. Despite living a relatively rootless life, his time in New Britain, and later New York and Maine, as well as the people he encountered there, deeply impacted and inspired his work.