The Collages of Richard Leach
Ekphrastic Review: How essential is text to your collage work?
Richard Leach: Very essential! Parts of words, even single letters, can add to the composition. A few legible words in a phrase are often what makes a piece feel finished to me. The phrase may be understandable but taken far out of context, or it may be nonsense - either can do. The collage is a small airplane going down the runway, and when the text is added, it lifts off!
ER: In what ways does poetry inform your visual work?
RL: I'm a poet as well as a visual artist. For me the two forms complement each other. When I'm writing poetry I'm trying to be understood - to be clear even when the poem is surreal. When I make collages I work much more intuitively, and I'm not trying to make the work understandable in the same way that poetry is.
ER: What about the combination of words and images do you find intriguing?
RL: Something I like about the combination of words and images is that by putting them together I can make a piece that feels like it almost but doesn't quite make sense - like what the piece means is on the tip of your tongue but you can't say it!
ER: Who are a few of your favourite artists and poets?
RL: One of my very favourite collage artists is Fred Free of Brookline, Massachusetts. I discovered his work online seven or eight years ago and didn't get it at first. But the longer I looked at it the more I did get it, and I came to like it immensely and find it inspirational. Robert Motherwell is a 20th century favourite. A favorite poet who was also a visual artist is Kenneth Patchen. I have spent a lot of time with E.E. Cummings and Langston Hughes. I read a lot of current poetry in journals and books and like a lot of it. Tony Hoagland when he is at his best is very good. Mark Strand, who died in 2014, was great. I just discovered and began reading Naomi Shihab Nye last year. And I think Bob Dylan's lyrics, from when he began writing through the present day, are outstanding poetry.
Visit Richard Leach at www.richardleach.deviantart.com.
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