blackbirdonline journalFall 2018  Vol. 17 No. 2

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RICHARD CARLYON | Selected Work from Reynolds Gallery

Introduction & Table of Contents

spacer A Network of Possibilities
by Ashley Kistler

Curating the Grand Hotel
by Paul Ryan

Dick Carlyon
by Chris Burnside

Table of Figures & Slideshow


Richard Carlyon: we remember him as an artist, dancer, friend, teacher, and founding contributor to Blackbird. His work has been featured in numerous past volumes of the journal and continues to influence the Richmond arts community today. Most recently, from January 19 to March 9, 2018, Richmond’s Reynolds Gallery featured an exhibit titled A Network of Possibilities, which displayed Carylon’s art across a wide chronological range. We present here images of the art from this exhibit and three essays written for the occasion.

Carlyon’s art explores gestures of communication and disruption and repurposes American Sign Language, newspaper collages, and topographies of marginalia to do so. He is attentive to the interplay of space, language, and line, often creating a dichotomy of geometric symmetry and organic movement within a single piece of art.

An essay by Ashley Kistler, curator and editor, explores Carylon’s lifetime of artworks and muses on the variety of his modes of operation and their common threads. In her words, “Each canvas offers a unique, hard-won, and delectable experience for the viewer that deftly underscores the infinite possibilities to be discovered with even the most minimal of means.”

Painter and art critic Paul Ryan’s essay “Curating the Grand Hotel: The Spirit of Cinema in Richard Carylon’s Art” places Carylon in the company of the practitioners of French New Wave cinema, likening his canvases to the zeitgeist and artistic aesthetic of French films from the ’60s. Ryan notes that Carlyon’s narratives unfold within structured scenes and spaces as “viewers traverse his elegant forms, experiencing enigma as they uncover insights into human experiences.”

Chris Burnside, dancer and teacher, introduces Carylon’s empathy and charisma in his essay “Dick Carylon.” To accompany a description of an encounter with Carylon, Burnside writes, “He had the ability to understand what you were doing and to make critically insightful, supportive comments about your process and your work. It was something we all came to seek, to depend on.”  bug