Hopper Meditations by Richard Tuschman
Combining his interests in art history, photography, painting and assemblage, Richard Tuschman has recreated many of Edward Hopper’s paintings. His work is presently featured at the Kopeikin Gallery.
Richard Tuschman has re-imagined this series as a personal photographic response to the work of the American painter. His images are created by digitally combining dollhouse-size dioramas with live models. Tuschman builds his own sets, paints them and then photographs them in his studio. The models are later shot against a plain backdrop. The final assemblage is made in Photoshop.
At the beginning of the series, the artist planned to recreate closely each specific Hopper painting but progressively took more freedom to create his own compositions.
I have always loved the way Hopper’s paintings, with an economy of means, are able to address the mysteries and complexities of the human condition. Placing one or two figures in humble, intimate settings, he created quiet scenes that are psychologically compelling with open-ended narratives. The characters’ emotional states can seem to waver paradoxically between reverie and alienation, or perhaps between longing and resignation. Dramatic lighting heightens the emotional overtones, but any final interpretation is left to the viewer. These are all qualities I hope to imbue in my images as well.
In other ways, my pictures diverge from Hopper’s paintings. The general mood in my work is more somber, and the lighting is less harsh, than in Hopper’s. I am trying to achieve an effect perhaps closer to the chiaroscuro lighting of Rembrandt, another painter I greatly admire. I would like the lighting to act as almost another character, not only illuminating the form of the figures, but also echoing and evoking the their inner lives. I suppose I would like to marry the theatricality of Rembrandt with the humility of Hopper. In this way, I like to think of my images as dramas for a small stage, with the figures as actors in a one or two character play. The characters, by appearance, are rooted specifically in the past, somewhere in Hopper’s mid-twentieth century. For me, this augments the dreamlike, staged effect of the scenes. The themes they evoke, though—solitude, alienation, longing—are timeless and universal.
Richard Tuschman began experimenting with digital imaging in the early 1990’s, developing the signature style that synthesized his interests in graphic design, photography, painting and assemblage. This digital work found a wide audience in the commercial sector, and his work has since been featured on the pages of magazines, annual reports, book jackets, and catalogs for clients such as Adobe Systems, The New York Times, Penguin, Sony Music, Newsweek, and Random House, among others. Tuschman’s award-winning work has been recognized by, among others, American Photography, Print, AIGA, Photo District News, American Illustration, and Prix de la Photographie, Paris. He has lectured widely on his artistic technique and creative process, and has taught at Cuyahoga Community College (Cleveland, OH), University of Akron School of Art, and Ringling College of Art + Design (Sarasota, FL). He currently lives and works in New York City.