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Birds & Poppies: Large-Scale Woodcuts by Richard Ryan

The University of Richmond Museums presents Birds & Poppies: Large-Scale Woodcuts by Richard Ryan on view January 16 through July 2, 2018, in the Harnett Museum of Art. Richard Ryan (American, born England, 1950) is a contemporary artist based in Massachusetts. The works in this exhibition demonstrate Ryan’s approach to the large-scale woodcut. Each print is the result of his exploration of images as simple as a vase with nine poppies and elegant birds seen in profile.

Ryan is Associate Professor of Art, Painting, at Boston University. He has been a visiting artist at numerous academic institutions nationwide and received many awards and grants for his work including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant. His artwork has been included in one-person and group exhibitions in New York, San Francisco, Boston, among others.

In discussing the Nine Blue Poppies print, the artist wrote, “The woodcut project began as a gouache study for a large painting. That year was a good year for our poppy plants: the flowers were large and particularly malevolent.” He continues to explain how their dark beauty generated thoughts of “various forms of meanings, ironies, and paradoxes. I thought this would do for a start.” The bon à tirer prints in this exhibition are from the Center Street Studio Archives in the Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University Museums.

Relevant research areas: North America, Contemporary, Relief printing

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