Galleries : Not your typical artist: Richard Limber
It is his ideas about art that keep Richard Limber motivated, even while supplementing his living as a carpenter. In addition to that craft, Mr. Limber, an Islander for close to 30 years, has a classic background in the fine arts. He was a student at several schools in the northeast and Canada, focusing on drawing, color theory, and figure drawing. This weekend Mr. Limber will have an art opening at the Scottish Bake House on State Road.
His experience in drawing is clearly seen in the majority of his intensely colorful and thought-provoking images. In almost every piece, he depicts a figure, sometimes a child, a woman, or even a figure we know from history. These well-executed figures are a product of Mr. Limber's drawing education that even included drawing cadavers in high school. His family was also very involved in the arts: His mother was a painter, drawer, and writer and thus his interest in art was always encouraged.
Mr. Limber describes his work as figurative. He often includes political themes, and demonstrates a preference for painting images with a message. Usually producing rather small pieces, he admits he used to work larger, when he was at the height of his "artistic ego - because really art is all about ego."
"I like to start with a figure. Then the figure becomes a story with many figures - a story helps the viewer to be engaged, like in children's books where you have to find the banana in the picture. I like to try to grab the viewer from a distance," he explains. Since every piece of art can be forgettable, according to Mr. Limber (he has been known to throw many of his pieces out), he believes it is important to have a "hook to get your viewers into your image."
Mr. Limber works with crayons, watercolors, and laser prints. Every line in his work is original, printed on laser paper and then manipulated through various means. "These are my parameters," he says. "My work is original, but the re-do, and re-do again is a mechanical process that has a lot to do with the outcome. Since I am printing out my prints, I can print them again and again and so my work is not precious to me."
He continues, "For me the craft is my foundation, but it is my point of departure. I like to be spontaneous, so as not to get bored. And that is why I work small, so that I remain experimental and not too attached to my work. Then maybe occasionally you make something you like, at least until the next day," he concedes, a feeling that many artists have about their work.
Unlike most artists, Mr. Limber is a person who invites criticism. In his show at Scottish Bakehouse he will even include an opinion board to illicit dialog about his work and art in general. "I like to use dialog to advance. We are afraid to ruffle feathers here on Martha's Vineyard. I use the comment board to get opinions."
Mr. Limber's feelings about serious critiquing are also felt in his views regarding Martha's Vineyard's art scene. He says that none of his work will enhance real estate values. "Here it is all about real estate. It is sad for the art scene. Artists who sell landscapes here show their more provocative stuff elsewhere. In this sense the visual arts are lagging here." He adds that real, firm art reviews could help the art scene here.
"We live in a specialized society and since I was typecast as an artist young, I have been doing this a long time," Mr. Limber says, admitting that while he is not a traditional artist, he has worked his way through many formulative layers. This has been for the advancement of his art because, as he says, you "can't assume anything."
Opening reception: Sunday, Oct. 12, 5-7 pm, The Scottish Bakehouse, 977 State Rd., Vineyard Haven. For more information, call 508-693-6633.