“Work and play are generally perceived as opposites, my position as an artist is to showcase the relationship as congruous. A similar mental state can be assumed when both activities occur and, at times, I have found them to be inseparable in my own art practice. Given this synchronicity, I interweave woodworking, painterly surfaces, and manipulated found objects to present the relationship in the form of bespoke functional objects, sculpture, and installation.
Chores, playtime, boredom, busyness, work; I use the cultural phenomena behind these topics to provide a familiar way to subvert expectation and establish new ways of perceiving the known, the repetitive, the banal. The specificity of these behaviors and their associative material language carries a layered narrative in it’s historic and sociographic origin, this encyclopedic source serves as a foundation for interpretation. I invest time studying tools and toys from eras present and past; I look closely at domestic spaces, abandoned buildings, construction sites, and the merging grounds where indoor becomes outdoor. I notice cycles of maintenance, the recourse from chaos to order, and the intricacies of the mundane. These observations and experiences serve as an initial prompt in how I communicate new messages through furniture, assemblage, installation, and sculpture, this time, encoded with the psychological intersections of seriousness and spontaneity.
Making work within the fields of sculpture and furniture has expanded my perspective on how a person’s interaction with both natural and built spaces can be a potent indicator of societal and cultural identities. Craft can be a powerful vehicle for sharing culture and accessing otherwise tacit values. Absorbing these characteristics allows sculptural objects to extend a common language that paves the way for a shared experience. I believe shared experiences lead to strong connections and greater empathy among us. With this in mind, I hope to activate inquiry in the individual that leads to a more meaningful relationship with their environment and it’s extensions.” -Ellie Richards