Throughout his distinguished career Richards has
developed a highly personal style of portraiture which delves deep into the
psyche of both his animate and inanimate sitters. In this latest body of works,
and his first exhibition of pastels, Richards presents a collection of people
and objects that he wishes to take with him to the next life.
Richards creates works that are simultaneously truthful
and subjective, depicting what is before him with physical accuracy while
exposing their personality as he sees it, seeking to express something beyond
physical appearance. In his still lifes Richards depicts the objects and
animals in isolation, allowing them to be given their due attention and hold
their own space. Chosen for their singular sculptural presence they are
stripped of sentimentality. Richards has owned each object for many years, some
since childhood. Often damaged and humbled over the years Richards resurrects
the object, shinning a new light on it and making it once again new.
a similar way to his approach to portraits, Richards chooses to present objects
which have significance for him. In this pastel Richards depicts a carving of a
young boy he has had for over 30 years. The boy stares up into the distance as
if he is becoming conscious and realising the enormity of the universe. The
figure captures the wonderment of life in all its complex and dazzling forms.
Only after creating studies in oil and terracotta does
Richards begin his pastel drawings. Richards sees his terracottas as thoughts
and a means of finding the person. Like in his oil paintings, with these pastel
works he uses readymade colours allowing himself to own both the colours and
the surface they are on. The seeming fragility of the pastel gives the
impression that the image could blow away, much like the transience of life.
Richards has had an acclaimed career as a founding member
of the Nice Style group with Bruce McLean, exhibiting at Tate and the Henry
Moore Institute, works in the Arts Council collection and being a highly
influential tutor at the Slade School of Fine Art with pupils including Cecily
Brown. Richards joins a long list of acclaimed artists who have taught at Slade
School of Fine Art including Lucian Freud, Euan Uglow and Frank Auerbach and
has similarly developed a distinctive style in which to explore the body and