Multi-Site Exhibition Surveys Artist Richard Carlyon’s Influential Career

by | Aug 27, 2009 | ART

Richard Carlyon: A Retrospective examines the artistic career of Richard Carlyon (1930-2006), a pivotal figure in the Richmond arts community, beginning September 11, 2009, at four Richmond venues: 1708 Gallery, Anderson Gallery of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of the Arts, Reynolds Gallery and Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Highly regarded as an influential teacher, Carlyon also maintained an active studio practice for more than 50 years, producing an extensive body of paintings, drawings, videos, collages, and constructions, many of which have not previously been exhibited to the public. Simultaneous opening receptions will be held 6-9 PM on Friday, September 11.


Richard Carlyon: A Retrospective examines the artistic career of Richard Carlyon (1930-2006), a pivotal figure in the Richmond arts community, beginning September 11, 2009, at four Richmond venues: 1708 Gallery, Anderson Gallery of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of the Arts, Reynolds Gallery and Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Highly regarded as an influential teacher, Carlyon also maintained an active studio practice for more than 50 years, producing an extensive body of paintings, drawings, videos, collages, and constructions, many of which have not previously been exhibited to the public. Simultaneous opening receptions will be held 6-9 PM on Friday, September 11.

Each of the four exhibiting sites will present a portion of Carlyon’s work, arranged thematically, to offer an overview of his development and wide-ranging perspective. In addition to works loaned from private and public collections, Carlyon’s studio will be reassembled as part of the show. Anderson Gallery’s installation, curated by Ashley Kistler, is titled Choice. The theme of 1708 Gallery’s show, co-curated by Brad Birchett and Gregg Carbo, who were Carlyon’s students, is Interval. Reynolds Gallery’s Beverly Reynolds is focusing on Carlyon’s works that feature his wife, Eleanor Rufty, as well as early and late paintings and drawings. And the theme of the Visual Arts Center’s display, curated by Katherine Huntoon, is Chance. Coordinated by VCU’s Anderson Gallery, the exhibition is accompanied by a 96-page catalog featuring essays by Howard Risatti, VCU Professor Emeritus of Art History, and writer Wesley Gibson, and designed by VCU professor and artist John Malinoski. It is available from each of the participating venues for $30.

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Born in 1930 in Dunkirk, N.Y., Carlyon studied painting and dance at Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University), earning a BFA in 1953. After being drafted into the U.S. Army and later moving to New York City, he returned to RPI for an MFA in 1963 and ultimately joined the faculty. He was named VCU Professor Emeritus in 1996. Carlyon was awarded three professional fellowships from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as well as a fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. He received the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from the College Art Association in 1993 and VCU’s Presidential Medallion, the university’s highest honor, in 2005. He died in 2006.

A series of free gallery talks will be held at 6 PM on Thursdays, Sept. 17-Oct. 8. Howard Risatti speaks on September 17 at Reynolds Gallery. The five exhibition curators participate in a panel discussion Sept. 24 at Anderson Gallery, and a panel of artists who knew Carlyon talk at 1708 Gallery on Oct. 1. Jason Carlyon, the artist’s son, and artist Ray Kass speak Oct. 8 at Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Additionally, a dance performance will be presented by the VCU Department of Dance & Choreography on Sept. 26 at 8 PM at the Grace Street Theater, 934 W. Grace St. Move: A Tribute to Richard Carlyon, is directed by Chris Burnside, and will be followed by a reception at VCU’s Scott House nearby. Reservations for the free performance are recommended; call 804-828-2020.

All of the exhibition venues are located within a two-mile radius in Richmond. 1708 Gallery, located at 319 W. Broad St., is open to the public Tuesday-Friday 11 AM-5 PM and Saturday 1-5 PM (804-643-1708 / www.1708gallery.org). Anderson Gallery, VCU School of the Arts, is located at 907½ W. Franklin St. and open Tuesday-Friday 10 AM-5 PM and Saturday-Sunday 12-5 PM (804-828-1522 / www.vcu.edu/arts/gallery). Reynolds Gallery, located at 1514 W. Main St., is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 AM-5 PM (804-355-6553 / www.reynoldsgallery.com). Visual Arts Center of Richmond, at 1812 W. Main St., is open Monday-Friday 9 AM-7 PM, Saturday 10 AM-4 PM and Sunday 1-4 PM (804-353-0094 / www.visarts.org).

Support for the exhibition is provided by Altria Group, Inc.; Office of the Dean, VCU School of the Arts; Markel Corporation; and numerous individuals. It remains on view through Oct. 17 at 1708 Gallery, through Oct. 25 at Reynolds and Visual Arts Center and through Nov. 1 at Anderson Gallery.

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Matt Ringer

Matt Ringer

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