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The Life and Work of Richard Carlyon


VCU Libraries and the ICA look back at the celebrated and influential artist and VCU faculty member Richard Carlyon (1930–2006) in a one-night program and art showing featuring some of his multimedia creations. The event, held inconjunction with a retrospective exhibit at the Reynolds Gallery, marks the recent acquisition of Carlyon's papers and digital works by VCU Libraries to preserve and make available to researchers. Refreshments will be served.

The event is free and open to all, but please register. Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad Street, West Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks. For special accommodations, or to register offline, please contact the VCU Libraries Events Office at 804-828-0593.

About the artist

Richard Carlyon studied painting and dance at Richmond Professional Institute (RPI, now VCU), earning a BFA in Fine Arts in 1953. After being drafted into the 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 a professor emeritus in 1996. He was awarded three professional fellowships from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, as well as a fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts to prepare a series of works entitled Dance Maps, based on the movement patterns of dances by Martha Graham. University support in the form of grants for studio research funded several projects, including Achromatic Abstract Painting: The Theoretical Principles of Resonance in Art, Communication and Media and Word-Based Imagery Attained through Chance, Randomness, Automatism and Improvisation. Carlyon received the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from the College Art Association in 1993, and the Presidential Medallion, VCU’s highest honor, in 2005. In recent years, his work has been featured in solo shows at several Richmond galleries. He remained a highly productive artist until his death in 2006, working simultaneously in painting, drawing and other media. His late works, developed through chance systems, vividly reflect his preoccupation with the visual aspects of language, sound and movement.

Image: Richard Carlyon photo, courtesy of the Carlyon family