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Portrait of Richard Mawdsley
Photograph courtesy of the artist.

Richard Mawdsley

Mawdsley was introduced to metal almost accidentally…he enrolled in a metals course because he could not get into a printmaking class at Kansas State Teachers College (now Emporia State University). He was not looking forward to the class due to the reputed difficulty of jewelry classes on campus. Mawdsley majored in metals after this introduction. Pop Art inspired him at the time and influenced the first constructed pieces he made of cogs and pipes. These pieces were the forerunner to his later mechanical works. He earned his B.F.A. Degree in 1967 from Kansas State Teachers College and his M.F.A. Degree in 1969 from the University of Kansas. He studied under Carlyle Smith at University of Kansas.

Mawdsley's work is fantasy oriented, but related to realism through his use of cogs, gears, and mechanical components. His work is influenced, initially, by old machinery on his grandfather's farm. Mawdsley learned about various parts through disassembling and reassembling machines into something completely different from their original purpose. Mawdsley creates complex, miniature worlds. The most prominent element he uses is tubing. Tubing is used structurally and as embellishments in his pieces. Mawdsley's use of tubing also enhances the mechanical image of his work.

Mawdsley taught at Illinois State University for nine years following graduation. From there he moved to his current teaching position at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1970.