Eluster Richardson’s ‘Quilt Wives’ Keep Legacy Alive in Tallahassee Exhibition

The final months of 2021 and all of 2022 are set to be record years for one of Tallahassee’s most beloved painters, Eluster Richardson, who will be showing both here in Tallahassee, and later at the Gadsden Arts Center.

With “Quilts, Lives, Legacies, (October 9-December 29, 2021) at Anderson Brickler Gallery in Tallahassee, Richardson will close the year with a personal glimpse of the wonderful real-life quilts created by his mother and the spellbinding art. into which he transformed not only images of the covers, but also of the woman who made them.

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Since he was little, Eluster Richardson has never been far from art. He found it among the rocks, dirt, trees and water of the Ayavalla plantation where he was born. He created it in little sketchbooks where drawings of wrenches and hand drills appeared under his pencil.

And later he would replicate the natural art he observed in his own home, a place where simple things, simple tasks, the ordinary act of making a bed or folding laundry would become an existential meditation on what means to be alive.

To be alive, yes, says the 70-year-old painter, looking at a painting of his mother who died at 97, but a way to leave a legacy that will forever say that his mother, Amanda Richardson, was important – and that in her paintings of her and her quilts, the life she has lived will be honored.

Eluster Richardson "Sleeping girl," Oil on canvas 36 X 48 inches, 2017, part of the "Quilts, lives, heirlooms" opening of the exhibition at the Anderson Brickler Gallery on October 9, 2021.

“I like the human figure”

Even as you see the oil paintings of Eluster Richardson’s wife, mother or daughter going about their daily lives on his canvases, two things become clear: First, Richardson loves color. And second, he’s a master of “color block” backgrounds – geometric panels that are sometimes part of a room or a shadow, sometimes abstract shapes that perfect a room.

Just like in a quilt, where each square brings a different hue, adds its own unique voice to the chorus of the whole, so do the designed colors and backgrounds of his paintings.

And then, of course, there are Eluster’s “quilt women” who busy themselves with neat stitches, or drape themselves in pixelated fabric, or smooth out folds in the fabric, even as time creates its own. they.

“I love the human figure,” Richardson says from his home studio. “I have painted my daughter, Jasmine, since she was in diapers. Sometimes dancing, sometimes reflective, Jasmine with a shiny scarf around her head, or posing as an African princess, brings her own drama to a work by Richardson.

Eluster Richardson poses for a portrait with some of his paintings, which will be on display at the Anderson Brickler Gallery in October.

Homage to the painter’s mother

For the current Anderson-Brickler show, it’s mostly Amanda Richardson’s turn. “After nearly 30 years in the phone company as a systems engineer, I had retired, just when my mom needed me. She moved into my house, and we found ourselves with time to devote to our passions… my art and her quilt.

Richardson said his mother would have pieces of fabric all over the living room, but he could see her patience and zeal for what she was creating. And together, their lives have become part of the legacy he still has in mind.

Fourteen of his paintings will adorn the walls of Anderson Brickler, as well as four of his mother’s real quilts.

Another from Marjorie Turnbull’s family dating from the 1800s and one from Valerie S. Goodwin, a former FAMU professor, whose quilt deals with African cemeteries, will be on display.

Interest in quilts has exploded over the years. Quilting societies have sprung up, art galleries present them both as vernacular art forms and as handmade works of art, both primitive and highly detailed. ABG Chief Curator Kabuya Priscilla Bowens-Saffo reached out to quilt shops and local organizations to share their own stories, quilts and heirlooms.

She hopes to mount their submitted photos and the stories of their quilts in a separate room in the gallery.

Eluster Richardson is working on a painting in his studio.

Gallery founder creates glossy exhibition books

Dr Celeste Hart, who is the fourth generation of the formidable and lauded Harriet Tubman, in addition to being a practicing physician in the Brickler family tradition, established the Anderson Brickler Gallery as part of his devotion to art, his history, and the experiences that art can produce. She also wanted to extend the appreciation of the moment of seeing deeply moving art by offering the viewer something tangible to take home to relive the experience.

“I have long been a collector of art catalogs. I often see things that I missed in the works when they were first seen. Art is very specific to a particular time and place, capturing history in a way that other documentary media do not. “

Eluster Richardson poses for a portrait with some of his paintings, which will be on display at the Anderson Brickler Gallery in October.

Hart believes that in addition to “thanking” artists for exhibiting their works, it is important to see their development and the time spent in its evolution. His response was a glossy printed book of two of Anderson Brickler’s exhibitions: that of Ken Falana, and now that of Eluster Richardson.

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“Having a book of my paintings has been something I’ve dreamed of for 25 years,” says Richardson. “And this one is beautifully produced.” Richardson will have a signing session at the gallery on November 13.

And yet, new works are still literally “on the drawing board”. From his home studio, right next to the living room where his family meets, Eluster Richardson finds himself almost every evening, sketching, working in watercolors, in oils, even creating figurative sculptures that will be transformed into bronze.

“It’s like scratching an itch that never goes away,” he laughs. And everyone who sees his work is very, very happy that there is no cure yet.

If you are going to

What: Exhibition of the work of Eluster Richardson, “Quilts, Lives, Legacies”

When: The exhibition opens on Saturday October 9 and continues until December 29

Or: Anderson Brickler Gallery, 1747 S. Adams, lower level

Artist talk and book signing: 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. November 13,

Contact: andersonbricklergallery.com

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