The art of Richard Pankratz is design driven. Regardless of the subject matter, media or technique, Richard Pankratz’ fountains, furniture and sculptures have the ability to arouse interest due to the overriding influence of design.
He says art should “provide people a break from routine, even if only for an instant”, and his work provides this interlude, even in a sensory saturated environment.
Ranging in scope from two story high ceramic wall sculptures to diminutive bronze human sculptures, the element of Pankratz’ design can be easily recognized, even though all of the individual elements of the pieces – including the space they occupy – are radically different.
Having grown up in an area that was so completely rural that not a single class was offered in visual art (depending upon the year, only between 22 and 49 high school aged children lived within the school district) it can safely be said that art was a not a community priority. And if finding any art was difficult, finding any art training was nearly impossible. With little or no encouragement to make art a career, Pankratz’ desire to become an artist came about only by way of his own force of will. By refusing to even apply to any school with a different mission other than art, his desire for art training finally began to earnest when he enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute.
Today, after years of training and world wide recognition, much of Pankratz’ art has functional overtones, no doubt due to the early influence of his rural roots, while stylistically it is an exciting and provocative blend of modern, primitive, southwest, and even oriental influences.
Pankratz refuses to be bound by either subject or media just as in the west he is unbound by space. His work is not easily recognized because he only depicts animals, or only figures, or only children, or only furniture, or fountains, or vessel forms, or southwestern themes or for that matter, only anything. Pankratz feels that artists must somehow find a way to express a segment of the world in which they exist, and that often as they take this journey, themes should be explored repetitively in multi-faceted arrays of variation. One such theme for Pankratz has been the landscape as experienced from above. As his media of choice has expanded to include metal, a bronze entitled “a view from cruising altitude” emerged as a bridge between clay vessel forms and sculpture.