Richard Mawdsley retired from the Southern Illinois University School of Art and Design’s metals program in 2004. He joined SIUC’s faculty in 1978. Including a previous faculty position at Illinois State University he taught at the university level for a total of 36 years. Before attending graduate school at the University of Kansas, he received an undergraduate degree from Emporia State University, Kansas, in 1967.
The metalwork that Richard Mawdsley makes has been collected by an number of major museums including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Detroit Institute of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. He has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowships and three Illinois Arts Council Fellowships. Other honors that Mawdsley has received include: the arts award from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, North Central Regional for the 2001 – 2004 Triennium; Outstanding Scholar Award for 2003 from SIUC’s College of Liberal Arts; elected to the American Craft Council’s College of Fellows in 1998; and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Emporia State University, Kansas, in 1993. A feature article about Mawdsley’s work, written by Janet Koplas, appeared in the April/May, 1983, issue of American Craft Magazine. He held the office of President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths from 1987 to 1989.
Richard Mawdsley has exhibited extensively since the mid 1960’s. His work has been exhibited internationally in 16 countries in Europe, Asia, and Australia. Major international museums exhibiting his work include the Vatican Museum in Rome and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Important recent exhibitions including Mawdsley’s work are: “Think Small,” an exhibit curated by Robert Sill, Illinois State Museum, Chicago Gallery, James R. Thompson Center, 9/17/04 – 1/14/05; Illinois State Museum, Springfield, 4/20 -7/31/05, and at the Illinois State Museum, Lockport Gallery, 9/10 – 2/3/06; “A View From America: Contemporary Jewelry,” exhibited at the Gold Treasury Museum, Melbourne, Australia, 2004; "Brooching It Diplomatically: A Tribute to Madeleine K. Albright," International Invitational Exhibition and traveling in the U.S. and Europe from1998 to 2001; and "America's Smithsonian," a two-year national traveling exhibition celebrating the Institution's 150th Anniversary, 1996-97. Currently his work is part of an exhibition of contemporary work inspired by Chatelaines that will open in the summer of 2006 at the Design Museum in Helsinki, Finland.
Known for narrative work that is intricately fabricated using precious metal tubing, Richard Mawdsley is currently researching a new direction with new technology. He is experimenting with carving work using a computer controlled (CNC) milling machine. This work is being inspired by ornamental turning, a method of forming and embellishing vessels using an ornamental or rose engine lathe. This work was made in the 18th and 19th centuries and was primarily made of wood and ivory. Mawdsley plans to explore the making of highly embellished functional forms that will be made in a variety of materials including metal and wood, and all machined from blocks of material.
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