Bill Richards

May 26 - July 1, 2011

The next exhibition at Nancy Hoffman Gallery will be a show of graphite drawings by Bill Richards, encompassing eight years of work. The exhibition opens on May 26th and continues through July 1st.

Richards works exclusively in graphite on four-ply cold pressed paper, his medium of choice since 1969. Eschewing color in favor of the wide range of silvery tones in graphite--from light to dark grays--his drawings are akin to the most complex, finely woven tapestries. Interested in overall composition and abstraction, with his central focus the intimate view of nature and landscape, he creates fields of grasses, ferns, reeds--the stuff of groundcover, which he often juxtaposes with a flower.

The artist spends many months working on his larger drawings (approximately 17x21”) developing the images, and working in small sections from left to right across the paper. While the process is meditative and demanding of patience and focus, his technique yields a personal touch, an overall velvet smooth surface with a soft “feel,” while each form, each bit of nature, is highly realized.

The artist takes photographs, which he uses as the source for his drawings. He often combines several images in creating a drawing. Richards does not project or copy a slide or photograph. He adds, subtracts, invents, based on his familiarity with the subject and the particular demands of each drawing.

The artist explains his process:

“More specifically, the artist notes, “I look at my 35mm slides using a 16-power jeweler’s loupe and then draw from memory what I just looked at, allowing the images to provoke new ideas as I draw. This process continues until the drawing is completed. Final alterations are made at this point, using a “bridge” to keep my hand from ever touching the paper. The slides were taken in a nature preserve in up-state New York. The process is different with the flower forms which were based on color prints taken along the Hudson River bike path.”

One never sees the horizon in the interweaving of Richards’s grasses, weeds, ferns, etc., but looks into a close view of nature that appears filled with color, though conceived in shades of gray. From afar, the drawings are abstract and sparkling; as one approaches, the diversity of natural forms come into clear focus.

Never swaying from his voice, or responding to the tides of fashion, Richards’s drawings have a clarity, poetry and evocative nature of few contemporary drawings.

Bill Richards was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1944. He received a B.F.A. from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; an M.A. from the University of Iowa and an M.F.A. from the University of New Mexico. He is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and from Creative Artists Public Service programs.

The artist’s work has been exhibited at the Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock; Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; Boise Art Museum, Idaho; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Huntsville Museum of Art, Alabama; Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, Georgia; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York; Oakland Museum of Art, California; Orlando Museum of Art, Florida; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida; Taipei Gallery, New York; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Whitney Museum of American Art, Stamford, Connecticut; and abroad at the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; Kunsthalle, Nuremberg; Salas de Exposiciones de Bellas Artes, Madrid.

Richards’ work is represented in the collections of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; Asheville Art Museum, North Carolina; Boise Art Museum, Idaho; National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art; and Takasawa Institute, Sokei Academy of Fine Arts, Tokyo.

For further information and/or photographs please call 212-966-6676 or email Nancy Hoffman Gallery at

Yours sincerely,

Nancy Hoffman