2019-2020 Mixed-media works
Artist Statement: A Murder of Crows, an Unkindness of Ravens
Darker times lie ahead. Our unsustainable society is failing and falling. We can grieve, prepare, appreciate what we have, or we can ignore it, and fritter away the beauty at an ever increasing rate.
These new works are a somber reflection of the serious danger that the natural world and mankind face as we move further into the 21st century. They are painted sculptural forms, suggesting images that lift off from the flat surface, pushing into our real space, bothering us a bit more. They are like relics, like a remembrance of creatures that used to live here. Their low color saturation is meant to convey a world with little color, perhaps decimated, perhaps in a long winter. There is little hope of reprieve in these works.
The paint is mostly gouache, with a base of ashes and soil. These earth pigments are meant to suggest a world where colors are in short supply and people must use what is around them. There is an ideology- one of sustainability- to these pigments, as they are available for free to all of us and will not harm the environment. The ash and soil are mixed with gum arabic and vegetable glycerin to become paint.
The works are created first as relief sculptures in oil clay. They are coated with vegetable oil and then layers of plaster impregnated gauze are applied. This plaster gauze layer is then removed and coated with shellac and milk paint to further harden it. The irregular shapes of the background are intended to suggest a natural rock-like formation that cold be the substrate.
The challenge of creating and painting works in three dimensions reminds me of duck decoys and painted crafts. It is new and slightly humorous to be working on the hidden side of an image for a painting. It is also intentional that these images hang freely without a frame, as to be less like traditional paintings- with their history of entertainment, and more like fragments from some darker place.
Richard Metz 2020
Earlier Mixed-media works
Artist statement: About the leaf paintings