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Richard Lewis Roth's Earlier (Pre-moop) Works

Since 1974 my basic work has been in the Moop series.

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1962 was my first year of serious painting.    I was 35.    I did nudes, portraits and landscapes.    But I gradually took an interest in abstraction, inspired more by early Kandinsky than by the then current abstract expressionism.    I did a number of abstract paintings where disembodied facial features tended to appear.   These shapes led me to embody them as in Self 1964.    See my self portraits.

Painters and      
Model,1962,
oil, 26"x 36"
Brooklyn      
Botanic
Gardens,
1963, oil,
20"x 24"
Square
Abstract      
1964, oil,
40"x 40"
Small Square
Abstract, 1964,
oil, 18"x 18"

And this led me to the idea of doing a big abstract face occupying the whole canvas rectangle, like Face #7.   After a year the idea was exhausted, but the Face Paintings led to doing representational portraits but abstractly colored, oversize and in full front face view.   "Father" (below) is an example, also some self portraits.

Face 7,
1966, oil,
40"x 40"
     Face 11, 1966,
oil,
40"x 40"
     Face 13, 1966,
oil,
40"x 40"
     Face 15, 1967,
oil,
40"x 40"

Father, 1967,
oil, 29"x 25"
       Mother, 1966,
oil, 30"x 24"
       Paul, 1972,
oil, 24"x 28"
       Phil, 1973,
oil, 28"x 24"
      

But after a year doing such figure work, I became interested in abstraction again.   This time my interest was in a more systematic vein where a work is initiated with a set of rules as in a game.    Some work I had seen of Larry Poons at that time with arrangements of small ellipses interested me.   I did a series of ellipse or ellipsoid covered works which I dubbed the Yoo Sub series.    These works combined simulated randomness with fairly strict rules regarding placement of the ellipses and their elongation and direction.   Some of the Yoo Subs were on stained canvas like Yoo Sub 4 below, others on gessoed canvas like Yoo Subs 3 and 10.

Yoo Sub 3, 1971,
acrylic,
66"x 114"
             Yoo Sub 4, 1971,
acrylic,
67"x 70"
             Yoo Sub 10, 1972,
acrylic,
70" x 70"

Paint Thing 5, 1973,
56"x 73"
             Paint Thing #12_2, 1974,
40"x 40"
             Paint Thing #15, 1974,
75"x 28"

But the Yoo Subs slowed down.   Perhaps being influenced by seeing shaped canvases, I had the idea of breaking out of the rectangle mode by staining one side of a canvas and gessoing and painting on the other side, using my two techniques of the Yoo Subs on one canvas.   Then I would make folds and partial cuts to form a configuration exposing both surfaces of the canvas and attaching it without support to the wall.   I called this last series Paint Things.   As my essay about the MOOP series explains, it led into the Moop series, my main activity since 1974.