Cooper Hewitt says...

Richard Landis (American, born 1931) is an artist whose rigorously conceived and executed weavings explore systems of closely related colors.
Landis has lived in Arizona for most of his life. An accomplished fly-fisherman, hunter, gardener, and gourmet wilderness cook, the artist lived for nine years in the Tonto National Forest in the Sierra Ancha, tending to a grove of indigenous trees and plants. “All growth processes, whether in art or biology have interested me,” he has said. “Through photographer Frederick Sommer I came to realize that man had to invent art to understand nature, and that perhaps intellect resides in our taste buds.” [1]
Landis studied art at Arizona State University under Sommer, who became a lifelong friend and mentor. He studied weaving for just three days with Sedona weaver Mary Pendleton, learning to warp the loom. He began his own hand-weaving practice in 1964, and soon began making the close-tone color studies that occupied him for the next three decades. Landis works almost exclusively in double cloth, a weave structure that maximizes color possibilities. He chose mercerized cotton sewing thread as his medium in the early 1970s, due to the hundreds of pre-dyed colors that were readily available. The process is laborious, but results in smoother color blending.
With his analytical approach, Landis stood out from his contemporaries in the 1960s, when romantic expressionism reigned and many fiber artists were finding freedom in working off the loom. Landis identified with the romanticists in at least one way: “I realized that repeats added no information and had to go,” he writes. “In about 1967 I began searching for systems that would deliver total variation and surprise.” [2] In Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric, design curator Mildred Constantine and textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen described the artist’s systems of tonal patterning. “At best these systems are so successful as to produce a mystifying luminosity,” they wrote, “and the quiet inevitability found in certain masterworks and much of nature.” [3] They included Landis’s work in their 1977 exhibition Wall Hangings: The New Classicism, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; a near-simultaneous exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam also featured weavings by Landis. Through the 1980s and 90s, his work was shown at museums and galleries nationally and internationally, including Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; Art Institute of Chicago; Dayton Art Institute; The Textile Museum, Washington DC; and numerous galleries throughout the southwest.
Landis stopped weaving in 1997, but his work can be found in prestigious museum collections, including Smithsonian American Art Museum; Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; Cleveland Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Art; and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

[1] Mildred Constantine and Jack Lenor Larsen, Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1973), 205.
[2] Richard Landis, Artist's Statement, 2009.
[3] Mildred Constantine and Jack Lenor Larsen, Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1973), 163.