Roswell Artist-in-Residence: Justin Richel

Justin Richel: A Window, A Door, A Ladder

January 8 - February 19, 2021
Marshall and Winston Gallery

“Without knowing it, I had opened a window onto something else. It was a sort of loophole. You know, I’ve always felt this need to escape myself...”  -Marcel Duchamp

With an interest in simulacra and trickster mythologies, Justin Richel's recent body of work explores the art and artifice inherent in the painting medium through the combined practice of sculpture and painting. 

He began the series with a simple line of questioning.  

“What is a painting?”
Perhaps the simplest answer to that question, is its materiality.
Traditionally: Paint, canvas, and wood supports.
“What is the function of a painting?”
A window or portal, an aperture. A framework or ideology. An object of and for contemplation.

The work within the exhibition is simply constructed from paint, canvas and wood. The works differ from traditional painting in that they are object based, sculptural forms. Each object began with a wooden skeletal structure that acts as the stretcher for the canvas. Numerous layers of paint are applied to the canvas to physically build up the surface. The resulting object employs both techniques of traditional easel painting and a realistic impasto like surface that describes the object’s physical three-dimensional qualities, essentially adding yet another layer of illusion to the surface.

Richel received a BFA from Maine College of Art and later studied the technique of icon painting at the Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunk, Maine. He has been awarded residencies at the Fine Arts Work Center (MA), the Monhegan artists’ residency (ME) and an Arts/Industry residency at Kohler Co. (WI), His work is held in the collections of the Portland Museum of Art (ME), the John Michael Kohler Art Center (WI) and Fidelity Investments (MA), and has exhibited widely at various museums and art centers including, the Wadsworth Atheneum (CT), DeCordova Sculpture Park & Museum (MA), Ogunquit Museum of American Art (ME), the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (ME), the Fitchburg Art Museum (MA) and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ME).

This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program. To learn more about the artist, please visit

RAIR Justin Richel