ARTIST STATEMENT: John Richey makes hand-drawn video animations, sculptural installations, and digitally fabricated commonplace objects using themes and images borrowed from various personal collections. His most recent body of work seeks to allow elements of chance and flexibility into a labor-intensive process that grapples with the transformative nature of information; including information retention and loss. By working back-and-forth between, and with different combinations of hand-made and digitally fabricated elements, Richey’s work investigates physical or conceptual glitches that occur in the spaces between human and digitally rendered movements and objects.
Having cultivated collections of various materials during his artistic career, Richey draws inspiration from an amassed textile collection that includes multi-colored flannels, cast away dish towels, black t-shirts, and an archive of found photographs and ephemera. By painting different flannel color combinations in grid patterns, he attempts to take what was once a simple geometric form and infuse it with elements of instability. While focusing on the formal qualities of each design, Richey chooses to render images using the unwieldy medium of watercolor in order to heighten irregularities between a fluid medium and its fixed framework. He pushes the process further by scanning each painting and commissioning an online digital printing firm to produce a new fine art print, flannel garment, or t-shirt using risograph, silkscreen, or dye sublimation printing techniques. This evolution of information ultimately leads to the final artwork; a painting of a found image or object that has been scanned into the computer and digitally rendered onto a new surface. The finished pieces resemble their original counterparts - yet carry with them the glitches or scars inherent to a process that in some cases force two-dimensional images onto three-dimensional objects. Lines that were once crisp become murky having been hand-rendered in faint watery pools and then digitally transformed into something vaguely pixelated.
In addition to producing sculptural works that walk the line between being fine art objects and functional garments, Richey also create labor-intensive hand-painted video animations. The animation process involves rendering a sequence of hundreds of simple illustrations on paper, individually scanning each one, and setting them into motion using digital editing programs. These performance-based works depict multi-colored grid patterns infinitely folding and collapsing in a limitless void. They investigate the formal qualities of the moving patterns while at the same time addressing themes of light, line, space, and movement.