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Richard Mann – A Little Known Artist From Harlem

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Richard Mann (1979)

This Richard Mann not that Richard Mann

I recently discovered an artist who signed his work “R Mann”. Richard Mann 1940(?) to 1990(?) a “Playwright, Poet and Visual artist” according to a biography written about him on AskArt.com. I don’t want to confuse this “R Mann” with “Richard, Rich and/or R Mann” hailing from Southern California. I have questioned his birth and death dates as I’m yet to find an obituary, however, this is what is stated on AskArt.com.

Be unique

This is a good lesson for any artist; ensure your name is unique. To be fair, these two “Richard Mann” were born around the same time and likely never knew the other existed until the invention of the internet, of which our Richard Mann likely never experienced at all. But if I were a Richard Mann today, I would use and sign my name with my middle initial and/or in a highly unique manner to help prevent confusion.

Influenced by surrealism, abstract expressionism and calligraphy

Richard Mann at some point became a Reverend, worked out of, and lived, in Harlem, New York. An unusual choice given it seems he lived there through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. He is said to have been born and raised in Australia and again, according to AskArt.com, “At the height of America’s counter-culture revolution, Mann moved to New York City where he lived and worked in Harlem.” It’s said he was influenced by surrealism, abstract expressionism and calligraphy and was inspired by the social and economic environment of Harlem.

Very little published information on mann

I’ve found zero published articles about his art, and I’m usually quite good at quickly finding something. Granted I haven’t put a lot of time into researching him, at all. I bet, however, this Richard Mann would have a fascinating story to tell.

There are a few mentions of him involved with plays, “The Warwick Play of Everyman”, Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) · Sun, Jun 25, 1972 · Page 15C, and curating an exhibit for Anna Walinska at the Museum of Religious Art of the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New Jersey. See: The Journal News (White Plains, New York) · Sun, Oct 28, 1979 · Page 97

Black Panther Supporter

Mann is also quoted in the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) · Wed, Apr 29, 1970 · Page 2 as a supporter of the Black Panthers. Intriguing, right?

The marchers came from an orderly outdoor rally on Newitt Quadrangle that had an almost picnic atmosphere. Public-address speakers were mounted on a large pop-art sculpture resembling an over-sized lipstick as they exhorted students to protest the Black Panther murder trial. Richard Mann, “People have seen that it is happening here- the Panthers cannot be convicted. We’re going to be out there and organized.”

Interesting, powerful, limited, art

I recommend buying his work as a possible investment. His work is a powerful expression of emotion, talented in its unique execution, and there’s likely a very limited amount of works available. I have provided a detailed example below, as well as additional Pinterest links.

FYI, I have no affiliation with this artist or anyone selling his work. I’ll let the graphics speak to the depth of his talent.

Example painting in detail

Here’s a few images and close ups from a Richard Mann painting entitled “Faces of Christ” from 1987. Not a subject matter I’d usually buy, and, given the title says “faces”, I’m assuming there was a series of these. I’ve only seen this one, and I think it is quite a powerful and symbolic work of art.

The right eye is perhaps the tunnel of light people speak of witnessing during a near death experience. Where-as the left eye is dark, sad, and crying with an obvious, yet abstract, depiction of Christs’ crucifixion, perhaps crying for non-believers.

Mann’s strokes are loaded with texture and deep, rich, mixtures of color. This piece is extremely vibrant and powerful, regardless of your beliefs. Looking at it carefully you begin to see much more than initially meets the eye. From what I have seen available, most of his pieces were quite large, this is on the small size at about 28 x 30 inches.
Richard Mann Faces Of Christ 1987

Richard Mann Faces Of Christ 1987 Close Up

Richard Mann Faces Of Christ 1987

Richard Mann Faces Of Christ 1987

Addtitionally here’s a few i borrowed from the internet

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Richard Mann Collage

 

Richard Mann Collage

 

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Joe Doyles’s Star Chart Inspired by Polynesian ‘Stick Charts’

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Had a conversation with Joe Doyle today, always a pleasure talking with and hearing about what inspired some of his work. I’ve been fortune enough to acquire a few of his Abstract Illusionism pieces with plans to continue.

During the conversation we spoke about some of his earliest work, one being “Star Chart” featured in galleries and a number of publications in the late 70’s. Though never specifically written about in any publication I can find, the real inspiration for the piece came from Polynesian navigation charts sometimes referred to as “stick charts”.

Joe Doyle’s “Star Chart” 1975

Star Chart (1975) acrylic on canvas 72”x 72”

Star Chart (1975) acrylic on canvas 72”x 72”

According to Tegan Mortimer

“These are deceptively simple grids made from small sticks and coconut fronds, which represent the major ocean swells in the South Pacific, with small shells showing the location of islands. The charts showed how the swells interacted with the island shores, the undersea slopes, and currents coming from different directions. While the stick maps were easy to construct, it took many years of study to be able to accurately interpret the real ocean dynamics which they represented.”

Here’s an example stick chart.

Polynesian navigation device showing directions of winds, waves and islands.jpg
By S. Percy Smithhttp://www.nzetc.org, Public Domain, Link

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