The last art exhibit: Richard Redd gives it all away
“The Scrapbook Show: The Life and Times of Richard Redd” marks the end of Richard Redd’s long and prolific career.
The retrospective exhibit of 60 years of innovative works by the award-winning artist at the Alternative Gallery in The Cigar Factory, Allentown, features not only Redd’s early works, but also pieces not been seen for decades. Scattered among those gems are poems, clippings and snapshots celebrating the artist’s life.
What made the Oct. 28 opening unique was the decision by Redd’s three children to give away the artwork on exhibit to the estimated 200 who attended. Those who signed in were given an orange sticker with a number on it that could be posted next to a piece of framed art to take home at the end of the exhibit run Nov. 26. Unframed pieces could be taken home right away.
“My two sisters and myself have houses filled with Richard Redd art,” says his son, Coryon Redd. “It’s important that it is not just art collecting dust in a closet somewhere. The real value of it [the art] is sharing it with friends and family, and displaying it.“
The exhibit includes a variety of media, including Redd’s well-known encaustics (painted with melted wax), plus organic additions, such as leaves and bones.
Collagraphs from Redd’s first use to the most recent prints are also included. Created from cardboard layered with materials, such as burlap or coins, collagraph plates are additive, thus the connection with the word for “collage,” meaning “glue.” For example, the plate for “We All Come from the Goddess” utilizes crushed aluminum foil, a fragment of a crocheted tablecloth, and sandpaper.
The exhibition also features woodcuts, oil paintings and the color xerographs with which Redd experimented in the 1970s. Redd began painting on barn wood when he bought a house in rural Lehigh County in 1961. He turned to printmaking exclusively in 1984.
“I created art out of the ordinary things in my life that I wanted to celebrate, vegetables, dogs, music, travel. I have told students, ‘Create from what you live,’” Richard Redd says.
Redd’s travels inspired various themes in his printmaking, including foil creations of the cone-like mountains of Guilin in southern China, and a fascination with Hebrew lettering highlighted in numerous prints, including “The Prophets.”
Richard Redd was born Oct. 22, 1931, in Toledo, Ohio. He received degrees from the University of Toledo and The University of Iowa.
Redd began teaching at Lehigh University in 1958, where he remained on the faculty for 38 years, including chairman of the Department of Art and Architecture 1970 - ‘76.
The Richard Redd Award is awarded each spring to a Lehigh University senior art major in the Department of Art, Architecture and Design making the greatest contribution to the cultural life of the department.
Redd was honored by the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission in 1994 as the fourth recipient of its annual award recognizing service to the arts. He was listed in the 2008 edition of Who’s Who in American Art. Redd is retired and lives in Bethlehem.
The Alternative Gallery in The Cigar Factory, 707 N. Fourth St., Allentown, is open noon - 3 p.m. Nov. 26, or by appointment with Earl Stocker, 610-703-1938.