Richard Armendariz | Woodcut Prints
Richard Armendariz | Woodcut Prints
Known for his hand-carved paintings, text-based imagery and large color-saturated woodblock prints, Richard Armendariz’s artistic and conceptual aesthetic is heavily influenced by growing up in the U.S./Mexico border and the hybridization of Mexican, American, and indigenous cultures. Greek and Mesoamerican mythology plays an important part in the artist’s exploration of the complex relationship between humans and animals. As a figurative artist, Armendariz enjoys playing with traits of human anatomy and identifying possible connections with characteristics found in animals that allow a deeper understanding of humanity. Spanglish, as well as contemporary and folk song lyrics, appear frequently in his compositions. His themes can be drawn from a broad panorama of literary, allegorical, pop-cultural, and regional story sources. We might see a boy astride a whale in turbulent seas. A lean and menacing wolf stares at you with a burning twig tied to his tail as if about to burn down the world. A plastic gallon water bottle wears a halo, life-giving nectar for the undocumented border crosser, traversing arid lands.
The artist’s practice in printmaking forms a strong part of his oeuvre. In 2013, Armendariz was selected to participate as the Artist-in-Residence in the Blue Star Contemporary Berlin Residency Program in partnership with Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany. A collaboration with Tabor Press, the residency allowed him, for the first time, to print large. The resulting work taking form in Crow Helps Whale to the Sea, or How Bear Lost Fire, a great 40 x 48 inch print depicting a bear sequestered inside the belly of a beached whale being taken back to sea by a group of crows. In 2018, Armendariz was invited to be an Artist-in-Residence at the prestigious Anderson Ranch program in Snowmass Village, Colorado, producing multiple woodcut prints such as Sleeping Ophelia and Do We See the Same Moon, exploring folklore myths of the moon and the rabbit. Armendariz continues to collaborate with Texas based printmaking studios like Hare & Hound Press in San Antonio and Flatbed Press in Austin, generating distinguished works like Exodus and Tell Me Where It Hurts.
Richard Armendariz, Roadman, Remix (Triptych), 2019, Woodblock print (triptych), 30.5 x 129 in 77.4 x 327.6 cm, Edition of 3
In the print Tell Me Where It Hurts, the legendary mythic trickster coyote stands, looking wry and bemused on his hind legs between a pair of inscribed Spanish Dagger yuccas, in a numinous red desert tableau, surrounded by a menagerie of rabbits, iguana, scorpion, and spider, moths, a rattlesnake and owl. They are all alert, as if part of a coalition of nagual first responders from the spirit world.
John Phillip Santos, “Tell Me Where it Hurts,” Ruiz-Healy Art, 2017.
Armendariz was born in El Paso, Texas. He received his BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2008, Armendariz received the Artpace Supplemental Travel Grant for travel to Mexico City, and in 2013, he was selected to participate as the artist in residence in the Blue Star Contemporary Berlin Residency Program in partnership with Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany. In 2017, Armendariz was selected to be the first Artist-in-Residence for the DoSeum in San Antonio, Texas. He is now a professor of art at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
His artworks can be found in prestigious collections, including the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX and The McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX.