Each painting is constructed from a working process that intentionally favors the elusive and random chance occurrence. The work itself is like a journey (a movement from one place to another), as well as a search (a careful examination, perhaps an exploration). I attempt to count, divide, measure, obscure, and reveal these images as receptacles of time, memory, and perception.
Rosalyn Richards speaks for The Interview Series, May 2020
How did you become an artist?
I always made drawings and paintings as a child and I just never stopped. I was fortunate to have parents who were involved in the arts in different ways. I received support and encouragement from them and am grateful for their willingness to send me to the Rhode Island School of Design to receive formal training.
Was there a particular experience that inspired you?
When I was eleven years old my teacher took my class on a school trip to the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco to see a major exhibition of the drawings and paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. That experience made me aware that the visual arts are something meaningful and important. I still have the catalog from that exhibition.
What images or things do you keep in your studio that influences your work?
I have a variety of equipment, materials, and tools in my studio. As I often work in an improvisational and experimental manner, the materials on hand can influence the direction an image might take. Through the windows in my studio I have views of many trees. The linear patterns of the branches, the colors and tonal patterns as the seasons change influence my work as well.
What positive outcome do you hope will occur due to the pandemic experience?
The global pandemic has been a traumatic experience because so many people have suffered the loss of loved ones and the loss of employment in addition to other personal struggles. My hope is that this collective experience will bring more empathy, kindness and solidarity to our society.
This series of mixed media paintings has been influenced by imagery from games, puzzles, charts, particle physics, as well as cosmological imagery from Indian Yantras and Buddhist symbols. I see this visual source material as providing points of reference into the world of the imagination in which one strives to create order, systems, and microcosms out of a vast and unpredictable universe. The subtle grounds in the paintings and multi-layered renderings possess the qualities of navigational maps or charts, although they cannot be consulted in the usual fashion.
I attempt to create a delicate compositional balance that suggests a momentary stasis. Like a written or drawn surface open to change and quick to reflect the personalities of those who makes mark upon it, the imagery suggests a multiplicity of authors and events. Non-hierarchical in their presentation of diverse visual information, the open visual fields establish marginalia (numbers, notes, mechanical illustration, graphs) as central. The readable but ultimately mysterious data floats up, back, and across the confines of the paper.
Each painting is constructed from a working process that intentionally favors the elusive and random chance occurrence. The work itself is like a journey (a movement from one place to another), as well as a search (a careful examination, perhaps an exploration). I attempt to count, divide, measure, obscure, and reveal these images as receptacles of time, memory, and perception. In doing so I present visual information and aesthetic experience as relational and fragmentary moments in time.
ARTIST’S STATEMENT FOR ETCHINGS ON PAPER
Much of what we are able to see in the natural world is mediated by technology. The relationship between what is seen and technological means of imaging nature is central to my work. Some images seem to depict expanding cellular forms, and some suggest an inner world of mysterious forces and events, the beginning or end of a transformative process. The perceived scale of the images could range from the cosmic to the microscopic world of cell mutation. There are various associations and interpretations connected to the work, and the images can be seen as metaphors for the human impulse to search for meaning.
The images are a visual narrative dealing with microscopic views of growth processes in nature – an investigation of unit forms and the intricacies of their arrangements. The imagery has been abstracted in order to emphasize the suggestive properties of marks, drawn lines, and the undrawn dynamics of the empty spaces on the paper. I employ repetition, shifting scales and a variety of tonal relationships to reference the natural world and explore processes normally unseen by the human eye. The passage of time, and the mysterious spaces that imply hidden forces, are the underlying themes of the work.
In some of the work I use appropriated imagery from scientific diagrams of cosmic or microscopic events and images from biology. In more recent work I have been seeking to free the line from the representation of forms, and use it to create atmosphere and space. There is a specific energy to each mark and line that can create a sense of fluidity and open-endedness, leading the viewer to multiple interpretations of the imagery.
Rosalyn Richards received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from Yale University School of Art. Her work is represented in many museum and university gallery collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hood Museum of Dartmouth College, Yale University Art Gallery, Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Ackland Art Museum of the University of North Carolina, the Samek Art Museum of Bucknell University, Guangdong Museum of Contemporary Art in China, Purdue University Galleries, and Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, among others. She has held artist residencies at numerous locations in the United States including Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Ragdale in Illinois. She was a visiting artist and critic at Colby College, Cornell University, the University of Dallas, Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in China, and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
Rosalyn Richards’ work has been included in numerous national and international exhibitions, including solo exhibitions at Anchor Graphics in Chicago, Artemisia Gallery in Chicago, The Print Center in Philadelphia, Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York, and Village Gallery in Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi, India. In 2009 her drawings were exhibited at The Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Tianjin, China where she was also a guest lecturer. Recently her prints were included in “Multiple Encounters Second Edition”, at The National Academy of Fine Art in New Delhi, India. From 1982 – 2014 Richards taught drawing and printmaking at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.