Rick's midwestern folk iconography draws upon certain stylistic aspects, and sometimes even the subject matter, of Byzantine icons. It may well have been this resemblance which led the art critic John Yau to suggest: “There is something disturbing about Beerhorst’s paintings. And part of it is their refusal to be charming. His subjects strike me as remote, unavoidably so. Whoever we are, we are intruders.” The theology of the icon, however, is that through concentration on the image, the believer might make a deep, spiritual contact. And so while Rick's paintings might well seem disturbing at first glance, their refusal suggests a granting, rather than a denial, of access to that which is remote, mysterious and hidden. And as Rick most often paints his children, the access is to (or through) his family.
Women and books predominate, as do cats, but birds, flowers and trees are also typical. Sight and obstructed vision are recurring themes, an allusive reference to 2 Corinthians 4:18: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Rick has more recently participated in the life of the city via Art Prize, each of his entries, to greater or lesser extents, dealing with some aspect of the city or community life. Plan B, a homespun eco village on the shores of the Grand River, was awarded Best Use of Urban Space in 2010, and Rick’s 2015 entry, “View from the Wealthy Overpass,” offers a panoramic view from the city’s south side. The city, and that view in particular, has been a favorite subject for Rick. It is reminiscent of Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings, meaning-full meditations upon a singular subject.