Ryder Richards: Pow[d]er
Art Corridor II, Tarrant County College- SE
2100 Southeast Parkway, Arlington, TX
March 24- April 23, 2011
Opening reception: March 24, 4-6:30 PM
“Pow[d]er” explores power structures as systems of reproductive ideology and seduction. Richards, artist and gallery director at Richland College, Dallas, offers new gunpowder drawings and large sculptures drawing associations between weaponry and beauty.
The work is an investigation into the power of the subliminal ideas or ‘temes’ within society, featuring an architectural installation pulsing with activity and sound along with several new, intricate drawings, made by igniting gunpowder on paper. The imagery offers organic patterns disguising and disrupting rifles set to impregnate the space —or the mind. (insert sinister laughter here)
(Art Corridor II is located on the second floor of the C-wing of campus. )
Installation video of “The Combine” (a functioning installation)
I was raised around guns. I see them as a symbol of power and violence while also acting as an introduction to manhood. They represent an attractive, even seductive, power: a way to assure others (and myself) of manhood through action. I now see that guns represent a set of ideas, a way to navigate the world and teach life lessons.
Conflicted, I now question the validity of these ideas, often portraying the weapon as a way to question its purpose. Realizing it’s potency and our lack of need for any such weapon in a civilized society, I am exploring how socialized violence, masculinity, and bold power has developed an infrastructure allowing it to become so pervasive, so strong, so accepted.
In this exhibit I work from the basis that ideas surround us all the time. They are in the walls and structures of our society, working and pushing to infiltrate us. They are disguised with beauty, playing on our base desires; a subliminal thrust that impregnates our mind. We carry these ideas forward and outward, perpetuating the systems we scarcely understand.
(You might recognize this as the idea of “temes” or memetics. Basically a teme or meme is a non-biological idea that survives and perpetuates itself, using humans as the carriers. It is a form of evolution and survival for the idea, not necessarily aiding in the survival of people.)
The installation piece in the show is called “Power (the Combine)” and is an attempt to make transparent the machinery at work around us. It can be considered as a comment on the anxiety of institutional architecture, the violence inherent in control and manipulation.
Resources for inspiration and ideas:
“The Combine,” as explained by Chief Bromden in Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” 1962
“Culture of Honor: The Psychology of Violence in the South” Richard E. Nisbett & Dov Cohen, 1996
“Memetics and the theory of ‘Temes’ “ Susan Blackmore, TED conferernce, 2008 (there is a lot of reading on this subject, starting with Richard Dawkins.)
“Moral Equivalent of War” William James, 1906 (romance is reliant on the possibility of violent death.)
“The Border Crossing Trilogy” and “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy.
“Oil!” by Upton Sinclair and “There Will Be Blood” by Paul Thomas Anderson
“Warped Space” by Anthony Vidler
“Public Intimacy” by Giuliana Bruno
“Architectural Uncanny” by Anthony Vidler