Images from nature and a love of geometry form the foundation of my visual work. As my work evolved, I turned to studying scientific imagery, such as magnified views of natural phenomena that are made available through advancements in technological imaging. I have been influenced by imagery from diverse fields such as satellite photography, biology, cosmology, and particle physics, as well as by direct observation of nature. I combine this concentrated observation with a philosophical interest in the interconnectedness of all beings and the physical world that we inhabit.
Two themes have emerged from my artistic practice: systems and improvisations. Systems is a reflection upon patterns of growth, organization, repetition, and the accumulation of marks/shapes as a compositional strategy to echo natural forms and the intricacies of their structure. The respect I have for the complexities found within nature is combined with a creative interest in slow art and slow growth as a meditative process to see what those inner structures can reveal to the imagination.
Improvisation refers to freeing marks and lines from the representation of forms and accepting them as aesthetic forms of their own. It means relinquishing control and accepting chance occurrences, accidental visual relationships, unplanned discoveries, and disorder or the unexpected.
Some works may directly reference the earth and cosmos, such as “Satellite,” which depicts an imaginary cosmos hovering above what appears to be a built environment. Other works, such as “Veiled,” emphasize how line as well as the size of marks can create an illusion of space in a more abstract way. The resulting image is about the perception of space rather than the representation of a form. In works such as “Mirror Pool,” “Fabric of Space,” and “Ascending,” I explore opposing forces to contemplate chaos vs. order. Images appear to be set adrift and are detached within an imaginary visual world.
Two recent works, “Remembrance of Trees” and “Ghost Trees,” are examples from a project addressing climate change and the delicate balance of forces in the natural world. “Remembrance of Trees” contrasts an image of a forest with a more ominous image of a flood or wave underneath, a reference to the destructive power of floodwaters. “Ghost Trees” presents a positive/negative reversal of a forest image that could be seen as a commentary on the effects of fire on the landscape, revealing the precarity and fragility of nature.
The goal I have pursued in all my work is the transformation of visual source material (whether that material is the more technical, scientific, or rational references, or the more representational) into a personal, introspective, and poetic visual language.
ARTerrain Gallery by Rosalyn Richards Systems and Improvisations: Etchings
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About the Artist
Rosalyn Richards’s work has won awards in numerous national and international exhibitions, and she has been a visiting artist and critic at several universities in the U.S. and in China. Her work is represented in many museum and corporate art collections, and her large drawing installation Footprints is permanently on view as part of the collection of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. She has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Yale University School of Art. From 1982 to 2014 Richards taught printmaking and drawing at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.