Museum  June 14, 2018  Chandra Noyes

Unraveling the Complex Weavings of Richard Landis in “Color Decoded”

Photo: Matt Flynn © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Richard Landis (American, b. 1931) in collaboration with Craig Fuller (American, b. 1949), "Nucleus," 1977. Mercerized cotton double weave, 47.6 x 43.2 cm (18 3/4 x 17 in.), Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Museum purchase from Friends of Textiles Fund, 1978-102-1

Celebrating several recent acquisitions, Color Decoded: The Textiles of Richard Landis at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum offers insight into the making of six impressively complex Richard Landis weavings. A master of color theory and double-cloth weaving, Landis’ works are amazing technical feats. Double-cloth weaving uses multiple sets of warps (vertically running thread) and wefts (horizontally running thread). This produces two connected layers of cloth and allows for the resulting fabric to have two right sides (and no backside, as most fabrics do).

Richard Landis (American, b. 1931), Untitled, 1982
Photo: Matt Flynn © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Richard Landis (American, b. 1931), Untitled, 1982. Mercerized cotton double weave, 79.4 × 54 cm (31 1/4 × 21 1/4 in.), Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Gift of Richard Landis, 2018-15-3

Richard Landis (American, b. 1931), "Red + Green," 1987
Photo: Matt Flynn © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Richard Landis (American, b. 1931), "Red + Green," 1987. Mercerized cotton double weave, 49.5 × 31.8 cm (19 1/2 × 12 1/2 in.), Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Gift of Richard Landis, 2018-15-5

Richard Landis (American, b. 1931), "Campo di Fiori," 1976
Photo: Matt Flynn © Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Richard Landis (American, b. 1931), "Campo di Fiori," 1976. Mercerized cotton double weave, 79.1 × 57.2 cm (31 1/8 × 22 1/2 in.), Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Gift of Richard Landis, 2018-15-1

A weaver for more than forty years, Landis’ textiles mesmerize with their intricate designs. Accompanying the weavings in Color Decoded are Landis’ own sketches and plans, demonstrating the huge amount of work and knowledge that goes into achieving his desired results. The complex weavings on display show Landis experimenting with blending colors, creating evolving patterns that play with repetition and create new colors. Fascinating to behold, the textiles entrance the viewer, as they try to decipher the patterns in Landis’ work and understand his methods. As with the work of any true master, despite a glimpse into his methods, a layperson can only marvel at the end result.

Color Decoded: The Textiles of Richard Landis is on view at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Musem through January 13, 2019. The exhibit accompanies the concurrently running exhibition Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.