The World in Black and White

Richard Dec ’73 sees things in black and white. When you’re making linoleum cuts, that’s the way to convey an image. There’s a flat surface that takes ink, and the cut-away part that does not, yielding a result that can be as detailed as the maker has the skill to render.

Dec has skill. His lino cut of an old English sheepdog looks friendly and furry enough to pet, yet lacks any hint of sentimentality. He learned to engrave at Williston, from famed teacher Barry Moser, who remains a mentor and good friend. “He discovered my gift to be able to carve linoleum with fine detail,” Dec said. “He told me he wanted to teach me how to engrave boxwood.”

Black and white drawings of insects and flowers, meanwhile, take on an abstract aspect and invite the eye to discover hidden visuals.

“They reflect the sensitivity of his hand holding the pencil and they are delicate and lighter in tone than are the prints,” said Natania Hume, visual and performing arts department chair. “The compositions are complicated yet harmonious,” Hume added.

Dec’s work is hanging in the Grubbs Gallery in the Reed Student Center through February 6.