Author Archive

The Gift of Time

Old trooper, I see your child’s red crayon pass,
bleeding deletions on the galleys you hold
under your throbbing magnifying glass,
that worn arena, where the whirling sand
and broken-hearted lions lick your hand
refined by bile as yellow as a lump of gold.

                                    -Robert Lowell, from “For George Santayana”

 

Day 1

At the suggestion of a local farmer, and after some deliberation, we took a back road and then no road at all, climbing over a cratered field of scrub into RAiR’s backyard. One of the residents came out fuming. “Turn around! Turn around!” He gestured toward a driveway that had been all but invisible beforehand. Rattled, Joe and I swung back—inched back, I should say—to the proper entrance. “A grand first impression,” Joe sighed.

We met Ryder Richards in front of his apartment and studio, a dun-colored affair with a slant silver roof that glared. All the other apartments looked much the same, excepting the compound’s meetinghouse whose single spire, in small silver letters, declared RAiR’s motto: The Gift of Time. Ryder showed us into the guest apartment where we would be staying. “There are towels in the bathroom,” he said. “You guys freshen up, then come over to my place for a drink.”

Joe showered first. We had been shed-camping in Madrid the past three days and were sooty for all the fires we had huddled over; too, the coal that blotched the surrounding hills—which we one day hiked—and hung in the air as dust, residual from the town’s old mines. Everything in Madrid seemed dirty, black. At RAiR it was the opposite: the walls were starkly white, the furniture austere. Even the sky was spotless.

Guns and Gods: an Interview with Ryder Richards

Ryder Richards (left) with Nicholas Pierce at Roswell Museum of Art.

Ryder Richards (left) with Nicholas Pierce at Roswell Museum of Art.

Through April 17th, Roswell Museum and Art Center will be showing new works by Ryder Richards in an exhibition titled Conflicted. Ryder, who received his BFA in painting and drawing from Texas Tech in 2001, is currently a fellow at the RAiR program in Roswell, NM. Drawing equal inspiration from his upbringing and his travels through Europe, where he studied classical architecture and Renaissance sculpture, the work that Ryder has thus far produced at RAiR—the work on display in Conflicted—infuses Greek myths with Western ideologies. Guns and gods appear alongside one another.

I met Ryder for the first time over spring break. Inside the starkly white and spacious walls of his RAiR apartment, we talked till long after sundown. Our conversation ranged from McCarthy to collaboration. This week we revisited similar topics over email.

Collusion, 2012 wood, acrylic 72" x 60" x 60"

Collusion, 2012
wood, acrylic
72″ x 60″ x 60″

 

1. You draw with gunpowder; create with a tool that is typically used to destroy. In your mind where do violence and creation meet?

They meet in the act, the action of creation, just as they do in the act of destruction. The important thing is that creation and destruction are transformations, which is an action of violence against the nature of the status quo or the object. For instance, a piece of paper is pure until we decide to create and ruin it by drawing on it: we have just imposed our will onto the paper, defiling it. This is a form of violence no matter how beautiful or well-intentioned the result.

The True and the Beautiful: an Interview with Ted Kincaid

Ted Kincaid

Talley Dunn Galley recently held its first exhibition of new work by Dallas-based artist Ted Kincaid. Called The Terrible Truth/ The Beautiful Lie, the exhibition showcased five bodies of work in which Kincaid explores the veracity of the photographic image. I had the opportunity to interview the artist over email last week. My questions (in italics) and his answers follow.

 

Q: You received your MFA from the University of Kentucky and your BFA from Texas Tech University. Would you mind briefly discussing your experience at each school? With whom did you study, and how did they influence your subsequent pursuits?

A: I was fortunate to study with Rick Dingus, Lynwood Kreneck, Ken Dixon and James Hannah during my time at Tech. Since I was a photography major and printmaking minor, all four of these mentors influenced my direction, drive, work ethic and aesthetic development in different yet complementary ways.

 

Q: I’m interested in your creative process. Would you please divulge how you go about drawing a photograph? Are there source images? And if so, how do you choose them?

A: When I initially began this current body of work, I had just finished the CLOUD series, where I tried to take an actual photographic image as far from its original appearance without adding or taking anything away from it, essentially concocting an incredibly unreal image purely out of factual materials from a photographic image. My work has always concerned questioning the veracity of the photographic image, and that trajectory has eventually led me to pushing a photographic image to its most un-photographic edges.

LA Sky 8061

“LA Sky 8061″
digital photograph on canvas

Great Times for Zach Nader

Zach Nader (2008 BFA from Baylor University and 2011 MFA from Texas Tech) “comb[s] the current torrent of images… in search of new possibilities of perception.” On Monday, January 28th Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, New York held the first solo-screening of his video works. Called great times are waiting, the videos, which were compiled over the last three years, feature footage from various television and online advertisements.

 

 

Nader’s videos were also recently featured in the group show She Bush at Yaffo 23 in Jerusalem, Israel– a show which “examine[d] human perception of reality in the post-internet era.”

For more on Zach Nader: a Q&A between the artist and Hey, Hot Shot!, and a critique of his ongoing work.

Donna Howell-Sickles Visits Texas Tech

 

Donna Howell-Sickles was in Lubbock in late January for the opening of a retrospective exhibition of her paintings at the National Ranching Heritage Center. She graduated from Texas Tech’s School of Art in 1972. In the years following, when she had to negotiate being both an artist and a mother, she would regularly begin painting as early as 4:30 in the morning, so that she could get three hours in the studio before the day began. “It sounds heroic,” she said to a group of students during her visit to campus on Friday, “but it wasn’t; it was necessary.”

The students were Studio Art majors enrolled in Tech’s senior seminar course, the focus of which is on professional practices and career development. Donna had these words of advice for them: “You want to go where the buyers go—travel destinations, not big cities. Big cities are where people buy artwork for other people. You want the man and wife on vacation, who say, “Yes!—that is exactly what we need.””

Indeed, it would seem Donna’s career has followed her own advice to a tee; she having had work frequently featured in the galleries of such popular vacation spots as Santa Fe, New Mexico and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“I try to honor the requests of galleries,” Donna said in response to a student’s question about galleries who ask that a body of work be extended or manipulated, “but I don’t—for instance—go so far as to change the colors of my artwork for a specific decorator or gallery owner. Thankfully, the cowgirl image is still one that speaks to me, as well as to others.”