Mojo Hand marked a dramatic shift in Yarde’s work stemming from a 1991 health crisis. Kidney failure and the close scrutiny of his bodily systems during numerous doctor’s visits moved his work from the exuberance of the Savoy series to images of body parts and acupuncture points and themes of fragmentation and identity. All of this was laid over a backdrop of visual patterns that evoke the blues rhythmns that gave the series its name.
Well, I’m goin’ tomorrow
but I won’t be gone long;
I’m goin’ tomorrow
But I won’t be gone ’till long’
I’m gonna get me a Mojo Hand,
I’m goin’ to bring it back home.
That’s what I’m gonna do.
From the song Mojo Hand by
Lightnin’ Hopkins (1912-1982)
Press About Mojo Hand
“Rich in social insight and historical awareness, Yarde’s vision is nevertheless primarily experimental. In his artistic vocabulary, cultural symbols are among the elements of a complicated private dialogue in which the artist asks the work for answers about himself.”
by Holland Cotter, 1997
“This exhibition by the Boston-born painter Richard Yarde pushes the watercolor medium, often used for incidental effects, in dramatic directions both in terms of scale and subject matter.”
by Christine Temin, 1996
“In 1991 the artist suffered a catastrophic illness: kidney failure, which led to limited movement and loss of speech. His return to painting was slow and tortuous, his recovery incomplete. He now spends seven hours of every day in dialysis, a mechanical process cleaning the sick body that is the theme…a subject he makes cosmic rather than macabre.”