I met Pat more than twenty years ago, after I’d reviewed a show of contemporary sculpture at the University of Cincinnati’s Tangeman Gallery. She showed a silvery life cast of a woman encased in a shell/boat that was suspended from the ceiling. The haunting work had been previously shown as part of a large installation, and because it was positioned among disparate works by other artists, I didn’t know at first what to think of it. I came to admire that piece and, indeed, everything Pat did, because she had an unerring eye for design and an unswerving commitment to the integrity of the object and to the craft of making art.
I loved Pat, and whatever I can say about her art has to be accompanied by an appreciation of what can only be called her vigor. She was a life force; she could sweep you away. Her enthusiasm for the first international women’s sculpture conference was a case in point. She and Laura Chapman had a vision, and the world acquiesced, possibly out of fear. Pat was persuasively eloquent, always curious, and enchantingly funny: she delighted in anything silly. I once walked through a flea market with her and, believe me, it was a treat. She had an unbridled laugh that was sometimes like a whoop; her eyes were astute and kind; her heart was broad. Pat was indefatigable if the cause was just. All of her causes were just.
I have so many memories of Pat and of Laura and of that wonderful space they created for their work. Pat always valued work. For her, work was a manifestation of the great love she had for the world.
To see some of Patricia A. Renick’s sculpture and to read about her life, go to http://www.sculpture.org/documents/scmag03/oct03/renick/renick.shtml.