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Richard Meyer’s work draws on the traditions of visionary art and social realism, with stylistic references to the histories of urban walls both ancient and contemporary. He retains the sense of the outsider being looked at and looking in, while displaying a sense of universal humanity, accepting the difficulties of our differences, while finding a commonality with those on the edge. In layering images, there is an empathic identification with the full pageant of humanity, bringing the full range of ethnicities, urban outsider cultures, and the physically and developmentally disabled into community and equality.

The tradition of painting those outside the artist’s social group is time honored and always leads to questions of the limitations and responsibilities of gazing from the outside. Painting remains a primal art form, physically creating the appearance of worlds using the materials of the earth and historically and culturally determined representational and compositional devices, at best pushing these into a transformation of these fundamentals into living image. The urban spectacle suits the subject as it transitions between the performers’ stage and everyday life.

Metaphorically, disability pushes up against the boundaries of defining ourselves by who we are not. The liberal assurance that we are good because we accept and do not judge, denied by the rueful reminder that we reassure ourselves that we are not them.  There are differences that are such that we will always question whether  erasing them is possible, or if some acceptance of diversity is preferable to erasure. Words are always defined by other words, and a constant deferral of final definition.

Whether physical or cognitive or both, disability states who we were and will be, remembrances of infancy or premonitions of old age. Not independent and a fully functioning agents of our own social lives, or no longer able to.

In the circus life, what was considered disabled in the day to day world was embraced and became magical. The apparently disabled could remake themselves, by their own agency or with the help of other insiders, into magicians and elves. The stigmatized community became an elite. The medical model, in seeking to rescue and to provide legitimate care for supposed pain and illness, negated the wonder and the independent agency, turning the performer into a medical anomaly. The medical model remains entrenched, while normalization is the current educational approach. But normalization with the severely cognitively disabled is necessarily makeshift, facilitated by looking for clues of predilections and shaping behavior to be socially and rationally appropriate. Physical disabilities are more amenable to identity politics, where groups can claim solidarity and speak for themselves, as individuals or in groups. There are solutions in barrier free architecture and expanded living spaces. 

In certain developmental disabilities, the boundaries can appear existential, possibly not responsive to full inclusion and independent agency by typical definitions. This pushes against our moral sense, our desire to empathize and fully embrace our differences, subjecting no one to our pity or condescension.

And in any sense, phrases such a “suffering from a disability” are inappropriate. Pain causes suffering. These states of physical and cognitive difference are not pain.




»The Art Album: Live, The Vault Gallery, Miami, FL
»Chelsea Underground Art Gallery, Chelsea, MI

»ArtRage Gallery, Syracuse, NY

»Allied Artists of America, National Arts Club, New York, NY
»Six Summit Gallery, Ivoryton , CT.

»Fenimore Gallery at the Proctor Theatre, Schenectady, NY.

»The 13th Hour, Last Rites Gallery, 511 W. 33rd St., 3rd Fl., NY, NY
»Paradiso Contrapasso, Observatory, 543 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY, NY

» New Breed, Last Rites Gallery, 511 W 33rd Street, 3rd Floor, NY, NY
Tattoo Culture, 129a Roebling Street, Williamsburg, NY, NY [Exhibitions]
» "(NU)Erotic", Visions Art Gallery, Medway, MA

IlluxCon, Altoona Heritage Discovery Center, Altoona, Pennsylvania
» Tattoo Culture

Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, "Brave Destiny", Brooklyn, NY, NY

La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Cybersapiens, 406 West 31 Street, NY, NY
» Madvine Studios, 197 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY, NY
» Artstudio, 48 Eagle Street, Brooklyn, NY, NY

Katonah Museum of Art, "Art as Spectacle", Katonah, NY, NY

Pseudo Productions, 600 Broadway, NY, NY

The Students of Professor Charles Eldred. A Memorial Alumni Exhibition, Binghamton, NY
» MBM Gallery, 580 Broadway, NY, NY