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Artist: Richard Neal

Richard Neal
Richard Neal, MISSOURI

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As a child of color, I had a feeling of being viewed as other but could not understand what caused this sensation. This feeling developed into an urge to disassociate with identifying as an African American along with other people of color. Having matured, I discovered parallels between my childhood identity conflict and a lack of historical teachings along with racial skews. This body of work expresses historical facts that I acquired through primary text and imagery along with the modern racial conflicts created from historical events researched from the text The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

My work is comprised of mainly brooches indicative of heirloom and mourning jewelry, some of which refers to the social and racial marginalization passed to each new generation of people of color. The brooch also takes on the form of a brand like the Star of David the Jewish community had to wear during the holocaust as a symbol placed upon someone to identify them as other. On the same token I explore the notion of jewelry as a symbol of higher status. By placing enslaved individuals in a position of elevation I evoke a sense of respect for those depicted, a respect that has been historically stripped away.

Using such small, personal objects creates a sense of intimacy analogous to the lack there of with my ethnic history as a youth. This close proximity in tandem with scale brings the humanity of the individuals to the forefront providing a different relationship between the viewer and those represented. Continuing the development of intimacy through scale I took influence from a quote by Mark Rothko which states, “The reason for my painting large canvases is that I want to be intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn't something you command.” By increasing in size the intimacy develops from becoming engulfed in the work providing a metaphor for the over encroaching social and legal conditions primarily pressed upon African Americans.

With this work I bring a new perspective on historical figures along with the relationship between historical racial marginalization and contemporary black America.

Aug. 2011 - 2018: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL
Bachelors of Fine Arts: Metalsmithing
-Professor Aimee Howard-Clinger

Aug. 2007 – Apr. 2011: Mascoutah Community High School


Lead Competitive Tumbling Coach:
Working with children from ages 5 to 18 in both the gym environment as well as competitions from local to national level.
Developing practices for competitive athletes ranging from beginner to advanced skills as well as structuring recreational tumbling classes for non-competitive individuals.
Structuring classes and practices for athletes of various ages and skill levels in a high traffic environment.
Consulting with parents about their child’s growth and development along with various possibilities to best increase the athlete’s progress.
Inform new customers about programs and facilities along with updating current members on changing policies and events.

2012 - 2018: Member of Wagner’s Association of Metalsmiths
2016 - 2018: President of Wagner’s Association of Metalsmiths
2016 - 2018: Member of Society of North American Goldsmiths

Shows & Competitions
2014: Sculpture on Campus Competition, Edwardsville, IL (Juried)
2015: Annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition, Edwardsville, IL (Juried)
2015: Small Works Show, Woodriver, IL (Juried)
2016: Annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition, Edwardsville, IL (Juried)
2017: Annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition, Edwardsville, IL (Juried)
2017: Shrode Fine Art & Craft Exhibition, Mt.Vernon, IL (Juried)
2018: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Annual Student Exhibition, Edwardsville, IL (Juried)
2018: Friends of Art Auction, Edwardsville, IL (Juried)
-All pieces are donated to Friends of Art to auction. All proceeds go towards assisting the funding for visiting artists at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.


2017: Honorable Mention: Shrode Fine Art & Craft Competition and Exhibition (Piece: Subject 2)

2018: Paulette Myers Award: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Annual Student Exhibition (Piece: A Master’s Embellishments)

2018: Don Davis Award: Friends Of Art Auction (Piece: Champleve Brooch)

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