Dave Richards
Drones and Escutcheons

I make relief sculptures using shapes inspired by biology, machines and partially disassembled toys. They are abstract, but can allude to things in this world like faces or bodies. Sometimes, they appear to have pieces missing. There will be a hole or a peg that looks as though something else might have been plugged in or attached. I have always been interested in things that are incomplete or that are orphaned parts of other things that nevertheless hold together visually. They appear to be partial and complete at the same time. I think this gives them a kind of pathos; they can be imperfect, or even damaged and yet still be aesthetically pleasing.

Lately the overall shapes fall into two categories, which I call “Drones” and “Escutcheons.” The Drones are elongated forms, like wingless toy airplanes that may hint at sinister uses. The Escutcheons are more rounded in form, like shields or badges. Some are fairly simple, while others can be larger with many layers. They display visual information like a coat of arms.

In my larger reliefs, smaller forms may be inset, making them resemble puzzles or even game boards with removable parts. Sometimes I display two or more of the reliefs together as one piece if they speak to or interact with each other. Some of my sculptures feature blackboard surfaces that may have drawings, words even the work’s title. Sometimes these drawn-on areas are partially concealed from the viewer, creating a mystery that provokes closer inspection.

I am interested in evoking memories of childhood but not as mere nostalgia. My intention is to use the worldview of a child as a symbol for the helplessness we often feel as adults in the face of the terrors and absurdities of the world: historical, political and biological forces that are beyond our control.