Richard Wiegmann

Artist’s Statement

I celebrate the world of nature—its intricacy and structure as well as its potential for metaphor, mystery and meaning. A single tidepool offers a profusion of forms and textures for investigation and invention. Stone and stars, flora and fauna, fossils, magma, watery depths and spacious vistas all hold symbolic and psychological significance for us. Even in the context of an increasingly technological culture it is hard to experience a cave without listening for echoes of origins (the womb, creation out of void), premonitions of death, or hope of returning to light.

Time is an ongoing theme in my work. Different ways of handling space imply different kinds of time. A place exists all-at-once, but we examine it part by part, often with quick shifts of attention. Just as peeling, weathered layers of paper expose the ephemeral while stratified rock stores past eons, the transient exists within a larger, universal context. Timelessness is glimpsed in aesthetic order, in myth, in ritual and in hope.

My working process is not linear. A painting may progress from an initial study, but successful works are unpredictable. I’ll begin with a sketch, a photographic image, casual marks, or encouraged accidents. At some point the work lets me know what it wants to be. Memory, imagination, personal preferences and the stimuli of accumulated sketchbooks and photographs enter the process. Erasing can be as important as adding (in the same way that what we forget may be as significant as what we remember). Success of the whole depends on synthesis and transitions. Insight comes through deliberation or impulse, just as appropriate marks can be drawn as a caress or as a slash. Effort and patience are often rewarded by insights that seem to come as unexpected gifts.

I enjoy the unique languages spoken by different media, especially those that permit both spontaneity and control. Translucent polyester film has a unique (though inherently bland) surface that allows me to explore a wide variety of techniques with drawing media. I also work in acrylic on canvas for larger scale, and I have used collage in order to experiment with complementary forms and textures on a small scale. Some of my works involve more than one part. Others incorporate multiple media such as objects and photographs.