Richard Prince's large-scale photographs, as described by their title "Black and White in Color," combine black and white images against deeply colored backgrounds. The images, found in magazine advertisements, are figures engaged in beach and water activities placed against vivid "sunsets" taken from different advertisements. Both elements are prevalent in current color advertising.
The subject matter and background of the resulting individual photographs exaggerate the already excessive commercial images by manipulating techniques such as isolating, cropping and rephotographing. The images become almost abstract, taking on characteristics of seduction, melodrama and violence inherent but not apparent in the source photographs. The complex intensity of the image is the result of relatively straightforward exploitation of photographic qualities of dot patterns, clear and blurred focus, color and black and white printing. Prince has said that the photographs of this series "can refer to a state of consciousness, a receivership, which sets up a certain degree of belief in a pseudo reality, a non-historical reality, whose effect in some cases can be felt more deeply due to a willingness, a desire to believe in what is less true."
Richard Prince was born in 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone. He lives in New York City. His work has been exhibited in New York at Metro Pictures, Artists Space, The Kitchen, Castelli Photographs, P.S.1, Pratt Institute and the Museum of Modern Art Penthouse Gallery. In the past year Prince's work has been included in group shows in European galleries and museums in Stockholm, Paris, Vienna, London, Bonn, Essen and Genoa. In the U.S. the work has been seen in shows in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Oberlin, Washington, D.C., and Cambridge.