Then one day there was this momentous project. Men fell out, harsh words were spoken and hard feelings remained.
Years of wandering to distant lands, embracing new cultures and languages have
taught me the value of human speech and enhanced my perception of the miseries, the joy, the power and the follies which are all contained in the spoken word.
For me there can be no worse misunderstanding than thinking I am on the same wave length with someone and realizing that common codes do not necessarily unlock the same doors.
The spoken word always falls short of meaning. Speech is fleeting and burdensome. When I focus on a particular word, I study the reflection of that word, I explore its hidden meanings, tell some of its story , I translate an emotion and a mystery. I also play rough with the word, I grab it by the throat even. Expressing a word for me also means revealing the essence of that word. Above all it is a celebration as well as a confrontation. It is a way of approaching the word with due love and respect. Lastly, it is a way for me to transfigure and question truths which seem evident, prosaic or trite even as the wound of disunion remains open to this day.
« We never stop trying to squeeze the last drop of meaning - literal, figurative, hidden - out of words. Normally, we are forced to use other words to achieve this. After many an orderly or disorderly maneuver, from marching to the big guns of grammar to making smaller forays into areas where the rules are not so clear, we are rewarded with glimmers of knowledge of the great mystery of language.
Richard Leray has chosen an entirely different approach, concise and precise. He selects a word and melds its series of letters themselves into a dazzling demonstration of the word's full significance.
Richard Leray instills in his words emotions which touch us, and ideas which make them meaningful... availing himself of each letter that can be used to further illustrate his thought. He is neither illustrator nor painter, but he draws on these words which become flesh. Through him we experience a sort of satori, sharp and succinct ; a jolt of sudden understanding.»
Gérard ROYER in « Le Courrier de l'Ouest », le 3 novembre 1989