Richard Bassett
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In our climate of visual inundation, these images, which once shocked and grieved a nation, now feel all too familiar and commonplace. Is this a consequence of time or has the daily onslaught of visual violence dulled our senses to a such a degree that it’s difficult to see them for what they are? And, can the shock of seeing these images on pillows momentarily snap us back to their reality?



The Lincoln Log cabin, a lasting icon of Americana, here recreated in steel with a gun metal finish, suggests the harsh reality that lies behind the romanticized American historical narrative.


The tents, which for me, elicit carefree memories of childhood, are based on images from the American Civil War and speak to the illusory nature of nostalgia.


The irony inherent in using Braille, a surrogate for visual experience, as a visual statement pokes fun at the all too often pretentious idea of artistic vision, while the quiet subtlety of these works may be seen as a metaphor for the ultimate intimacy of a work of art.

Art Speak

Art Speak is the largest of the Braille installation pieces which consist of white map tacks pushed directly into the wall. It is a transcript of the various reviews and press I’ve received over the years and an attempt to put into perspective the effect critics and criticism have on the artistic process. Shown here are six of the possible ten panels for this piece.

Artist Statement

Also written in Braille directly on the wall with map tacks, the Artist Statement piece continues a conceptual tradition of presenting a written artist statement as a work of art. However, due to its encrypted nature it remains a purely visual experience, the exact content of which is only accessible to those who read Braille. In effect, what you “see” is what you get.

Anyone able to decipher the Braille will discover the personal nature of the texts which have more to do with the formative aspects of the artist’s experience than with the usual explanation of artistic concerns.

Art Titles

The Art Titles pieces, which are small lines of Braille embossed in relief on white paper and matted and framed in white, ostensibly function for a segment of the population as reproductions of the works of art they name, in much the same way as a magazine reproduction would for someone sighted.

Within the titles of these pieces lie various conceptual and art historical puns such as Erased de Kooning Drawing, 1953 by Robert Rauschenberg and the pairing of the transgressive Self-portrait, 1978 by Robert Mapplethorpe (Mapplethorpe with the bull whip) with the transgendered L.H.O.O.Q., 1919 by Marcel Duchamp (Mona Lisa with a mustache).

To date, there are about thirty pieces in the Art Titles series, including White Painting, 1951 by Robert Rauschenberg and Dots in a Row, 1951 by Ellsworth Kelly.


The Weddell Sea

This piece, along with the Mt. St. Helens piece, started with a photograph which was digitally manipulated before being transformed into a striped bit map on the computer. Stencils were then hand cut from digital prints in order to transfer the outlines onto hot press watercolor paper. The images were then hand painted in gouache.

Mt. St. Helens

This piece, titled After Hokusai/Mt. St. Helens Revisited, is taken from a section of a photograph of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. The portion of the photograph used strongly resembles in appearance and structure a classical Japanese woodblock print. The further fragmentation of that photograph into the stripes of a bit map and the subsequent illusion of perceived recognition that the individual images retain, serve to illustrate the subjective aspect of all visual information.

The Dead Sea

These pieces pay homage to the seascape photographs of Hiroshi Sugimoto.