It‘s easy to overlook the landscapes that we grew up, mountains and trees morphing into visual white noise. Often it takes a foreign visitor to tactically experience what they’ve only seen in print and on the internet- their enthusiasm bestowing on us a sense of appreciation for how privileged we are to be living amongst such lush scenery. When portrayed by an un-jaded fellow Canadian, the archetypical landscapes present a level of awe that can only come from years of gradual discovery and appreciation. Canadian Dreamscape is an intimate snapshot of a flourishing, muse-like relationship with one’s own country. Conveyed through a vibrant, kaleidoscopic palette, traditional canvas is replaced by smooth pieces of wood, immediately connecting the viewer to nature.
The paradox of legitimizing that what is beautiful can also be ugly, and vice versa, is a familiar one. In the context of the series Fear Birds, birds themselves are not the primary focus, but a vehicle to both reconcile Richard’s abhorrence of them and to pay homage to his grandmother, who felt real fondness for the creatures. Richard uses his artistry to better understand her perspective, and he achieves this through creating a fantasy where the birds possess centaur-like aspects, with their feet replaced by human fingers and hands – an artist’s main tool. Through mythological means a common ground is found. Though, don’t be mistaken – the initial discomfort and fear spawned by these peculiar and grotesque birds is intentional. You’re meant to experience the full gamut of emotions. Bold lines within the pieces embrace the process of dissolving irrational fear by demonstrating assertion and confidence. There is also immediacy in the brush strokes, creating a lingering electric charge that conveys struggle and maturation in an almost tangible way.