Diverse Congregants

Richard Weiner, PhD

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Year Participated: 2008

How did showing in the exhibition impact your career as an artist?

“Having my work exhibited in the 5th Annual Betsy Meyer show in 2008 was a turning point in my art career by significantly increasing my exposure to the public. The many positive reactions I received served to boost my confidence and fuel my motivation to continue sculpting despite my demanding full-time work as a clinical psychologist. Finally, this experience prompted me to pursue other public exhibitions and eventually to create a website for my work.”

Artist Statement

I attempt to create artistic works which are evocative. Thematically, my work often depicts relationships- between living organisms, people, or among objects in three dimensional space. The influence of nature on my work can be seen in my tendency towards biomorphic shapes. Some works are purely whimsical. I use sculpture as a vehicle to express my aesthetic sensibilities. The choice of wood as my preferred medium relates to its living and organic nature, the diverse challenges of its many textures and grains and its inherent warmth and sensuality which readily invite touch. I attempt to portray my subject matter through its fundamental qualities or nature. As an artist and a licensed clinical psychologist, I am also committed to supporting the expanding role and positive impact of the arts in healthcare environments- specifically their beneficial effects on patients and their families’ experience of care. Over the years, I’ve come to see the subtractive or ‘take-a-way’ process of direct carving as a loose metaphor for some methods of psychotherapy- removing obfuscating layers to reveal a solution or truth embedded within and ferreting out the ‘signal’ from the ‘noise’.

Garden Nymph

I am a direct carver who works almost exclusively in wood. Most of the exotic hardwoods I use were procured over 50 years ago before deforestation and environmental concerns made this an unsound practice. Since then, I have acquired raw wood materials from felled trees, recycling centers, and from the razing of old buildings. I examine each piece for cracks/checks then study its inherent possibilities taking into account its grain, color, density and any unique defects. I try to visualize forms I believe are already contained within the wood-using my skills to release them. Main shapes are roughed out with an adz, axe or saw. As the concept crystallizes, I use a variety of wood chisels, rasps and rifflers to remove waste and refine the forms. Finally, each work is sanded and smoothed with a variety of abrasive tools and papers. No stains, dyes or artificial surface finishes are used, only neutral penetrating oils and/or clear wax.