2010 by Rosalind Richards
Richards’s work, like Gauguin’s (postcard 233), is surrounded by an aura of the artist’s captivation of place. As Tahiti imbedded itself in Gauguin’s style and subject, Richards’s paintings live and breathe the atmosphere they aim to capture. Her paintings are drawing-like; she does not plan designs before putting brush to paper but draws with her medium freely, allowing the flowing and idea fuelled immediacy of drawing into her compositions. The effect is one that allows the composition to get caught up in itself. Her style is detailed when taken with the intricacies of architecture or the delicacy structure, as here with the buildings and the wheel of a cart. Yet when we reach the skies, the expanse of mountains or the brilliance of the sun, her paint becomes wonderfully translucent and emotive. Turner-like, colours are diluted with light and atmosphere – a haze of projected feeling, a climax of emotion – the satisfaction of being somewhere, translated into the freeing of style. Colour is also dreamy, dark only when the mystery of a building’s depths, or otherwise, commands it. Mostly it floats and seeps, ebbing with what it describes; it is not dominating but agreeably reflective. This unity between colour and design perhaps lies in Richards drawing with paint; composition has not been separated with an outline, but the two mix in an adjoined exploration into visualisation. Her paintings are mystifying, enticing of faraway lands.