Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Richard de Peaux
Vibrant art has always evoked a sense of awe within me. Thinking back to August of 2010, I was still in recovery from a stroke when I first visited the Richmond Center for the Visual Arts; Yinka Shonibare’s works were on display. I knew not of who he was, but I was struck by the brilliant colors that comprised Shonibare’s Victorian-inspired costumes, made from Dutch wax-printed cotton. They drew me in like a moth to flame. I toddled and wobbled around each figure, looking up — some were on stilts— I couldn’t pull my eyes away, and the room spun circles around me.
Years later, I returned to the RCVA to meet with my advisor; I was now an incoming student at the Gwen Frostic School of Art. Through the second floor gallery window, large and vivid paintings of farmland called out to me from down below. Planes of yellow, burnt orange and muted purple articulated his landscapes. Cutting through the acres streamed cool blue rivers, bringing relief to the blazing land. Again, I found myself in awe of the works before me. Sy Ellens was the artist; even to this day, while passing through his studio in the Park Trades Center, I find myself too shy to compliment him on his choice of palette.
Though these two artists are vastly different from one another, and me from them, I find myself working with the same color intensity that drew me to their works.
This past summer, I spent three and a half weeks traveling Italy with the Book Arts in Venice program, studying the history of printmaking and book binding. While there, I became enamored by the statuary that lined the hallways of numerous museums, reclined on the arched entries of duomos, and lie tucked into the corners of architecture, seemingly hidden and out of sight. I was drawn to them in the same manner as I was to Shonibare’s and Ellens’ works. Upon returning to the States, I set to creating a series of large and vibrant paintings based on these majestic figures, breathing new life into once static and gray statues. The result is Pietra, a reflection of what I find most fascinating in the works of other artists.
Shaulis, Crystal, "A Series of Paintings Inspired by Italian Statuary" (2014). Honors Theses. 2464.
Honors Thesis-Open Access