Richard Rhodes (sculptor)
Richard Rhodes carving stone using traditional mason's tools.
California, United States
|Education||London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, followed by apprenticeship in Siena, Italy|
|Known for||Sculpting, stonemasonry, entrepreneur, scholar|
Life and career
Born in California, Richard studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1981. Through his study of medieval ritual and research, Rhodes apprenticed himself as a stonemason in Siena, Italy, after graduate school. Working with the operative branch of the Freemason’s guild in Siena, Rhodes first encountered the Sacred Geometries and the Sacred Rules of Bondwork as passed through the medieval guild of the Freemasons. Rhodes credits his guild training as a major influence in his sculptural practice.
Rhodes' work explores the line between art and architecture with expressive, site specific work. His earlier work is self-described as "architectonic." His current sculptural work is abstract and figurative, clearly visible in his Sentinel Series (various). His work is textural and often draws on the expressive hand finishes Rhodes' learned during his training and apprenticeship in Italy.
Several of his commissions incorporate antique stone objects such as salvaged and worn pavements or stair blocks. Rhodes' largest public sculpture, a two thousand square-foot Untitled - Stone Wave (2004) at the center of Antoine Predock's Tacoma Art Museum, is made of antique granite; salvaged from road pave stones in the Fujian region of China. This piece attracts considerable attention since the museum (with Rhodes' support) has since invited artists to contribute to the space created by Untitled -Stone Wave, using it as a base or canvas. Participating artists include Dale Chihuly who provided the first artwork to be created in this series entitled Niijima Floats (2003) and SuttonBeresCuller created Ship in a Bottle (2007) by lowering a sail boat into the courtyard. Untitled - Stone Wave (2004) has created a unique exhibition space at the Tacoma Art Museum that "may be the single most dramatic exhibition space in the Northwest."
Pieces from the Sentinel Series, including Sentinel I and Embrace, were featured in the Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi and Sculpture by the Sea - Cottesloe in Sydney (2012) and Perth (2013) respectively. Of Embrace, Sentinel Series, Tom Flynn of The Sculpture Agency writes "Seattle-based sculptor and designer Richard Rhodes’ Embrace: Sentinel Series, comprising two chunky interlocking forms in carved granite, was among the few truly stand-out works, beautifully executed and open to multiple readings. It seemed perfectly at home overlooking the ocean. Brancusi would have liked it." The sculpture is now represented by the Hotham Street Contemporary.
As an artist, Rhodes combines the aesthetics of traditional stone construction with contemporary building techniques.
As Educator and Lecturer
Rhodes' expertise in the stone industry led him to develop several lectures accredited by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He has spoken at many institutions, firms, studios and conventions, including the national conventions of the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Building Stone Institute. He also delivered a five-lecture series to the Institute of Classical Architecture in New York and San Francisco. In 2012, he lectured at the Royal Austrian Institute of Architecture (RAIA).
His AIA accredited lectures include Stone Specification, Adaptive Re-Use of Reclaimed Stone Materials, The Sacred Rules of Freemasonry: The Underlying Rules of Stone Design, Dimensional Stone - Ancient Traditions, Modern Practice, and The Grain of Stone: Implications for Design and Fabrication.
Architectural Stone and Architectural Design
In addition to his sculptural practice, Rhodes used his academic and practical training in masonry and business to found and direct three companies specializing in architectural stone.
Through his architectural stone companies, Rhodes has worked with notable architects and firms. His stonework contribution to Olson Kundig Architects' Hong Kong villa which is featured on the cover of Jim Olson: Houses. Rhodes Architectural Stone, under Rhodes' direction, supplied the stonework chosen for the cover photographers of Peter Pennoyer Architects and New Tropical Classics, Hawaiian Homes by Shay Zak.
With Rhodes Architectural Stone, Rhodes purchased 17 villages behind the Three Gorges Dam project in China and successfully recycled the antique stone material into construction of architectural projects in the United States. Rhodes' interest with working in high-density limestone led him to the ancient Chinese villages because of the stones texture and warm characteristics. They were in the process of being abandoned and flooded because of the hydroelectric project, which was set to displace between 1.1 and 1.9 million people. The villages were built out of the same high-density limestone, but with the benefit of a patina from thousands of years of daily use and weathering and Rhodes set out to preserve the material. After two years of negotiation, Rhodes worked with the Chinese government to purchase the limestone that would otherwise have been underwater and finance factories with Chinese stonemasons and craftsmen. Rhodes ultimately only harvested the top three inches of the limestone and gave the rest back to the Chinese to build new homes.
Projects that incorporate the salvaged stone work include the fireplace and powder room sink at the Telluride House featured in Western Interiors and Design; the stonework salvaged for the project included a 500 year old stone threshold "[where the] patinas are just incredible." Rhodes also created Stone Wave at the Tacoma Art Museum in 2003 with 700 pieces of re cut and transported pave stones from the Pearl River Delta in Southern China. According to Rhodes, the stone, "[has]this fantastic texture...you get almost a sheen to the stone from the wear."
Chronology of Work
- 2013 Embrace (Sentinel Series), Granite, Sculpture by the Sea - Cottesloe, Australia
- 2013 Sentinel I (Sentinel Series), Bronze, Sculpture by the Sea - Cottesloe, Australia
- 2012 Embrace (Sentinel Series), Granite, Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi, Australia
- 2012 Sentinel I (Sentinel Series), Bronze, Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi, Australia
- 2012 Four Abstract Volumes, Granite, Palm Desert, California
- 2012 Untitled - Oven, Granite, Melbourne, Australia
- 2011 Sentinel I (Sentinel Series), Granite, Seattle, Washington
- 2011 Sentinel II (Sentinel Series), Granite, Woodinville, Washington
- 2010 Earth Tone, Wood and PVC, Burning Man Festival, Nevada
- 2010 Ignition, Antique Granite, Seattle, Washington
- 2009 Maher Headstone, Antique Limestone, Mt. Rainier, Washington
- 2008 Hillside Ruin, Limestone, Seattle, Washington
- 2008 Untitled - Trough and Ruin, Antique Granite and Limestone, Crested Butte, Colorado
- 2006 Untitled - Woven screens, Sandstone, Kona, Hawaii
- 2005 Untitled - Site works, Antique Limestone and Granite, Greenwich, Connecticut
- 2004 Untitled - Stone Wave, Antique Granite, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington
- 2002 Untitled- Park bench, Reclaimed Granite, Redmond, Washington
- 2001 Cross Roads Park- Planned Parenthood, Granite, Seattle, Washington
- 1995 Untitled - Furo, Antique Granite, Redmond, Washington
- 1992 Escher Box, Refractory Brick and Limestone, Highlands, Washington
- 1992 Untitled - Entrance Walls, Basalt, Ephrata, Washington
- 1991 Glasshouse Fireplace, Granite, Seattle, Washington
- 1991 Woodland Spring, Basalt, Orcas Island, Washington
Written works by Richard Rhodes
- Doing Business Abroad Raises Ethical Concerns
- Survivor: Trapped in New Orleans During Katrina, I used business skills to get home safely
- Stone Expressions, a forthcoming collection of text and photographs exploring the history and practice of stone work from its origins to the present day.
- Trebay, Guy (June 26, 2003), From Ming to the Patio, New York Times, archived from the original on June 26, 2003, retrieved June 10, 2010
- Laskin, David (8/06), All Roads Lead to Home, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine: 96–105 Check date values in:
- Anderson, Peggy (March 13, 2003), Tacoma Art Museum: A sea of stone is at the heart of the new space, Seattle Post Intelligencer
- David Laskin. September 2006. "All Roads Lead to Home." Seattle Metropolitan. Page 104.
- Graves, Jen (April 18, 2003), Doing the Wave, Tacoma News Tribune
- SuttonBeresCuller (2007) Ship in a Bottle, Tacoma Art Museum.
- Winn, Steven. (2006) The Next Wave, City Arts Online, September, 2006.
- Flynn, Tom (2012), Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia, the sculpture agency : promoting contemporary sculpture
- Furguson, Liam (July 29, 2013), Embrace' Richard Rhodes, Hotham Street Contemporary
- Jim Olson. "Jim Olson Houses." Monacelli Press. 2009. Cover page.
- Anne Walker. Peter Pennoyer Architects. Vendome Press. 2010. Cover.
- Shay Zak. New Tropical Classics, Hawaiian Homes by Shay Zak. Architecture Interiors Press. 2011. Cover.
- Haggart, Kelly (August 10, 2002), Rock of Ages, Toronto Globe and Mail
- Western Interiors and Design, Far East in Colorado, July/August 2003.
- The Olympian, New Museum's Centerpiece is a Courtyard Sea of Stone, March 13, 2003.
- Rhodes, Richard (2003), Doing Business Abroad Raises Ethical Concerns, The Wall Street Journal
- Rhodes, Richard (November 1, 2005), Survivor: Trapped in New Orleans During Katrina, I used business skills to get home safely, Fortune Small Business, archived from the original on November 1, 2005, retrieved June 14, 2010