Monument to a Quarter Million Dreams
Collaboration by Ian F. Thomas (Slippery Rock, PA) and Ryder Richards (Dallas, TX)

NCECA 2012 Invitational: Push Play
Curator: Linda Ganstrom, Director of NCECA Exhibitions
Bellevue Museum, Seattle, WA

STATEMENT: Play is a product of investigation and the willingness to take risks. As individuals progress the concept has a tendency to become alien and a re-introduction is required. In an effort to entangle adult concerns with a level of play, Ian F. Thomas and Ryder Richards have begun collaborating. Utilizing techniques from independent studio practices the artists offer objects and concepts considering risk as reward, studio practice as a practical form of play.

“Monument to a quarter million dreams” seeks to memorialize the passing of the NASA Space Shuttle program through recognizing the role it played in generational development. Utilizing model-making technology and construction methods, Thomas and Richards recall the early knowledge of converting child fantasy into physical object. As such, the piece takes on a form of construction aligned with the notion of play, yet approached seriously with mathematical acumen. Applying a ceramic coating to the model it reflects a childlike sensibility, mimicking the ceramic tiles on a space shuttle which diffuse heat during re-entry. As such, the work fuses technical innovation and artistic prowess with an ideology and passion learned in youth and reinvigorated.

Without the NASA program offering the chance of exploration for future generations the work stands as miniature memorial to the power of possibility—the power of play.

~ Ryder Richards and Ian F. Thomas, 2011