Richard Carlyon: A Retrospective

September 11 – October 17, 2009

Purchase Richard Carlyon: A Retrospective exhibition catalogs online!

Accompanying the exhibiton is a 96-page catalogue designed by John Malinoski, with essays by Howard Risatti and Wesley Gibson.

Note: Virginia residents must pay sales tax.



Richard Carlyon exhibition catalog

September 11, 2009: Opening Reception, 6-9pm

October 1, 2009: Artists' Panel Discussion, 6pm

October 2, 2009: First Friday Reception, 7-10pm


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. The theme of 1708 Gallery’s show, co-curated by Brad Birchett and Gregg Carbo, who were Carlyon’s students, is Interval.

Richard Carlyon was uninhibited by the unknown. He even ventured into the unknowable, knowing only that this chance-direction would lead to a true place of making, of creating without pre-determined thought. He referred to his work once as “mediation between polarities,” or the interval – the space in-between. Richard Carlyon reveled in the value of that stop-action time, the indefinable space between the here and the there. His work referenced these in-between spaces formally, within the content, and often with sly humor – with a true grin.

Richard worked with the work in mind – within that interval between the beginning and end of the art-making process. His art making was about art, in the making. This bit of history is seen in the work itself; the happenings of his process, a space in between time and creation, and in between the artist and the art object. Richard creates open spaces with and in his work – sometimes quiet, sometimes activated, sometimes suggested – with use of line; strips or “tracks;” planes on planes of paint and color; and spaces between materials, between figure and ground, between “effect and content,” and between actions. Richard offers a sense of risk-taking and movement in his work that crosses formal boundaries – across lines, the layering and over-layering, the movement between mediums, across oeuvres, and camps. We encounter these spaces within his work often – seen as delineating lines, changes of color, planes, mediums, materials, suggested space between layers of paper, and hardware between masses. Even the spaces between the art pieces themselves become important in Richard Carlyon’s work. This multi-dimensional association of space and time allows the in between to come forward, to be fully in the viewer’s view while suggesting a certain “quality of repeating rhythms” or “a kind-of look,” as Richard suggested.

Richard Carlyon was sincere and serious, but also full of humor and surprise.  His grin will ne ver diminish, nor will his passion.  His work suggests a serious laughter; a cunningness that exists today in between formal art concepts and across mediums.  Richard was a coyote, young and old, serene and sly, laughing and crying, but especially all things in between. The coyote hunts for a something and finds “something else.” The hunt was Richard Carlyon’s practice, and the something else was what he found in the interval.

 All photos taken by Travis Fullerton.