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Special “Eye” to Watch
June Mattingly // contributing art writer

Ryder Richards “Trajectory”
presented by Ro2 Art at ThirdSpace Gallery

Up at the present and through August 28 is one main installation composed of free-standing
attached drawing configurations on paper, attached to custom wood constructions, across
from one another along long unobstructed walls. The titles and subjects of the pieces in the
show are based in the ballistic trajectory of a Winchester rifle familiar to most through
Cowboy and Western movies. The mere fact that the Winchester is the famous hunting
rifle makes me personally shaky in the knees while ever so appreciative  that an artist is
addressing the unmatched power of this instrument to hunt and kill innocent wild animals
or a living being.
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“Go(a)l(d): Antelope,” 2010 graphite, gunpowder, goldleaf, acrylic, wood, 7 x 5 feet
“Potential,” 2010, graphite, gunpowder, wood, paper, 83 x 180 x 36 inches

As unusual yet as effective as the rifle reference, the mediums used to reinforce its
soulful meaning – graphite, gunpowder, gold leaf, acrylic paint and in the artist’s
presence and by his own hand pre to the opening celebration, actual fire to
emphasize chaos and the sound effects of real gunpowder exploding.  The specially
placed purposefully positioned small round wood posts attached to the walls to
create rhythmic, definitive shadows represent the wideness yet directness of
multiple bullet shots.
The regal stag antelope head standing proudly by itself presents itself as target
among trajectories of bullets, a symbol of the beauty of natural forms watching
over all of us trying to understand why life, the land and freedom once theirs is
suddenly snatched away cruelly and for no reason except to satisfy some
unrestrained person’s need to kill, to assert their dominance.

This high ceiling ground floor, two story gallery space with a  floor to ceiling
glass front is next door to the original Neiman Marcus on the east side and
to the west, the new extravagant Joule Hotel and Charlie Palmer restaurant.
This gallery is the inspiration of Susan Roth Romans and Jordan Roth who
have continuous shows here and also downtown in the renovated DP&L
building’s gallery, both concentrating on artists deserving gallery representation.
Richards, the gallery coordinator at Richland College is a deeply thoughtful talent on
the verge of receiving recognition in and outside the discriminating Dallas art world.
He was born in 1977, grew up in the West in Roswell and holds a MFA from TCU and
a BFA from Texas Tech University. His Artist Statement appropriately opens with “the
possibility of violent death is the soul of all romance,” from William James, a pacifist
in 1906. He continues with “The romance of the West has been closely tied to my
personal history. Here, a portrayal of strength and civil nationalism is paramount, as
is respect for violence as a historical proving ground. Within this ‘Culture of Honor’
manhood is developed through emulation and one’s salvation is earned through
action. My current work is an investigation of the perception of power within such
societal structures.”   
“Rupture,” 2010, 2010, graphite, gunpowder, wood, paper, 83 x 180 x 36 inches

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