In Memory of Patricia A. Renick, Sculptor (1932-2007)

I just learned that Patricia A. Renick, a renowned sculptor, impassioned advocate for women in the arts, gifted teacher, and great spirit died on May 7th, as a result of complications from leg surgery. She was 75, a professor emerita at the University of Cincinnati’s acclaimed College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning.

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.

Maureen

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.

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2 thoughts on “In Memory of Patricia A. Renick, Sculptor (1932-2007)

  1. Maureen

    Dear Rhonda:
    On Saturday I finally made it to that wonderful show currently on view at the Weston Art Gallery at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati. The Essence of a Thing, an exhibit of works by twelve female regional artists whose iconography derives from nature, is spectacular and beautifully installed, as are all the shows at the Weston. I can see why Pat would have been pleased. On Sunday, I went to the tribute for her. I’m sure you were there.

  2. Rhonda Gushee

    Thank you for remembering Pat so eloquently. I was also very lucky to have known Pat, and she was a wonderful mentor. The last thing she said to me at our opening reception last month at the Weston Gallery here was how proud she was of my accomplisments…always encouraging. She wasn’t wearing her hat, which was very unusual, of course, and very telling.

    We will all miss our "Mother Art."

    Thanks again,
    Rhonda Gushee

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