Wayne Richards

by Cindy Paul

Artist Wayne Richards utilizes his classical experience and gift for realism to portray the female form at its most mysterious. He aims for a sense of mystical purity in his nude female figures, always the focal point of his paintings, and succeeds handily.

His work is by no means simply photo-realistic representations of the subject. Richards very consciously places each of his meticulously depicted subjects in a dreamlike locale that suggests fantasy, other-worldliness, and even potential danger.

"Untitled" is a good example of this approach. Richards takes the viewer, with exquisite care, into a strange, dark landscape. The female who is the focal point is nude and gleaming with reflected light, yet her long black hair almost completely hides her face, strengthening the mystery. The ominous shapes of foliage, both dead and alive, surround her, but she herself kneels uncertainly on a wavy expanse that might be water. Far in the distance, framed by the round exit of a huge cave and tree roots, is a misty, golden light.

The artist is clearly an expert when it comes to the manipulation of light and dark, and the profound effects they can have. "Plundered Innocence," for example, shows the startled witness a dramatic crouching figure, almost spotlit in a golden glow against the deepest black background. A good third of the canvas is in darkest shadow, yet in front of the girl’s form and behind her are hints of rich texture and color.

Wayne’s canvases tend to be over-sized, usually about 30 inches wide.