Garrison's recontextualization of aspects of consumer culture affords us a new perspective on commonplace objects, places and experiences. His Circular Color Schemes, (puns intended) measure the amount of each color from product images taken from Sunday newspaper sale circulars. Garrison plots the colors in concentric rings of color in gouache and watercolor on paper that graphs the amount of each color from each image. Each wedge of colors in the circle is labeled as to which picture of the product it originates, like "frozen chicken" or "flat-screen T.V." The resulting compositions look like a cross between a color wheel and a Joseph Albers painting.
Richard Garrison’s Parking Space Color Schemes are a collection of colors derived from an archive of photographs of the asphalt of every parking space he parked his car. After collecting the images for a given period of time Garrison matches the colors in the photos in paint on canvas or paper from the first parking space his automobile occupied to the to last space. The resulting grid of blacks, grays and muted colors in these photo-based chronologies are naturally effected by the time of day and year, and therefore the light, each photograph is taken. Through a process of careful scientific-like scrutiny we can trace Garrison’s daily errands.
Garrison's Product Package series takes this process of analysis but instead of rendering each composition in paint, Garrison collages pieces of cereal boxes, garbage bag boxes or any printed cardboard packaging cut into regular rectangles, triangles or squares. These geometric abstractions are composed using only product packaging that comes into the Garrison household through the ordinary process of living, the buying of products needed for everyday life in suburbia, and are dated. So, they act as a record of the amount of any given color that comes into his home.
Related to the Product Packaging series is Garrison's Product Packaging Color Match series. Garrison collects and saves every cardboard product package that he and his family bought and consumed in chronological order from the first product package that is emptied to the last of a given period of time. He then sets about matching in gouache and watercolor every color from the front of every box saved. Painted and numbered from the top left to the bottom right of each composition, with the products and their corresponding numbers listed at the bottom of the composition, the grids of color undulate and the random juxtapositions of hundreds and thousands of colors document the intensity and variety of color in the American consumer experience.
Garrison’s Shopping Cart Inertia drawings are created from the movement of shopping carts as he locates the items onhis shopping list. He built a wooden box, which he secures and levels into a shopping cart. A pen-holder on ball bearings placed inside the box shakes and jitters like a trolley across a piece of paper as he searches for each item. The products are then listed at the bottom of the page in the same order as his shopping list. The resulting erratic array of tangled lines and black inkblots are characteristic of Surrealist automatic drawing also reference Jackson Pollock or Franz Klein.