About Richard Fomo, Photographer/Artist
I studied art at Wesleyan University as an undergraduate and later earned an MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. At RISD, my paintings developed into two and three-dimensional mixed media pieces that also employed photo-lithographic images printed on acrylic-coated paper. After RISD, I became more interested in video, photography and installation and learned video production skills at a Cape Cod community access TV station. My technical skills in video had developed to the point where I was able, since 2001, to make a career as a freelance video producer, cameraman and editor working under the trade name, Richard Fomo Productions. And while the commercial enterprise started to flourish, the artistic one became mostly a personal pursuit.
That changed in 2012 when I exhibited some work publicly for the first time since the ‘90s. Because of digital photography, I started making many more photographs in the 2000’s, focusing mainly on landscapes, nature and city environments. However, in terms of art, I am only somewhat motivated by a documentary impulse. Coming from a painting and fine arts background, I find myself wanting to not be limited to the taken-for-granted objectivity of the camera. And I have plenty of company in that regard. What I don’t favor for myself are images that are fanciful or fantasy based. This attitude might be odd for someone who makes composited images; however, these images are not, for me, about storytelling. Of course, other people can impose many kinds of narratives on these composite images and often do. I’m interested in experimentation and exploring how we see. How much of a house can disappear and still be seen as a house? How much can a landscape be re-configured and still seem like a place? I should point out, though, that making composites is not an end in itself; I don't mean to define myself as a practitioner of compositing.
In a word, what I'm pursuing is subjectivity. More than that, I hope to make an image that can bypass logic, knowledge and structure. I have been deeply impressed by the two major movements of early modern art, Abstraction and Surrealism; mainly because both represent moving art away from drama and conflict resolution, or as I said above, storytelling. And yet, Modernist images still have an emotional power; something that is abandoned by Late Modern artists (but that's another story). So with the Surrealists and other early modern artists in mind, I aim to re-imagine landscape as a presence that is already vitally part of you; it’s not “out there” and does not need to be an iconic image, whether famous or familiar. To me, a landscape is more interesting if it can be about emotion rather than description.
And with that said, I also make photographs that are only about description and can easily fit into any of the narratives human beings create about the world we dominate. I include them as well.
Thanks for taking a look.