Richard Limber: Below the Surface


Off an elbow of Circuit Avenue, not far from Tony’s Market, hides an odd cottage. With a svelte roof-peak, crazy-shaked sides, and a clapboard facade into which curved copper awnings shaped like halved Norman helmets are cut, it has little in common with its nearby gingerbread cousins other than scale. Trucked and trailered in three sections from a lot adjacent to Duarte’s Pond in West Tisbury, the scars of the heavy surgeries that re-assembled it just over a decade ago have faded.


Flush with funky carpentry, the cottage’s interior might lead visitors to assume they’ve entered a woodworker’s dwelling. Ingenuities, from collapsing console tables to hidden doors, to a kitchen hung with sensually contoured cutting boards, strengthen that notion. But a descent to the cellar offers proof of another discipline.

In light washing in from French doors and casement windows, nudes and portraiture rest on mantles thin as chair rails. A handful of richer works rests on the floor against the walls, primarily pastels, several of which play at re-imaging cultural icons in a Warholian manner. One in particular, titled Inspectors at Fukushima, is an interpretation of contemporary disaster. In gradations of maroon, teal, and mauve, silhouettes steeped in smog huddle before a lurid edifice, conjuring up epic melancholy akin to some of Rodin’s Gates of Hell studies.

jul42947Elsewhere, stacks of framed works lay adjacent to a gray-metal map chest. Beside the chest and above the stacks is the dominant imagery of the space — creations on paper patterned across an entire wall. Untitled and unrestrained, these are the works of Richard Limber.

Limber’s watercolor images are produced wet and interlaced with pastels, crayons, or dropped inks. He and the media seem to work in tandem but not in concert: what has manifested says as much about what the media desired to do as what Limber desired to do by employing them. Owing to the indeterminate consequences of the technique he practices, the studio is better described as a laboratory dedicated to aesthetic experimentation — experimentation where the unpredictable blossoms, and backruns of wet inks on wet paper warp initial sketches into wholly different images.

limber-woman-croppedRichard Limber will participate in the Art Stroll Event in the Oak Bluffs Arts District, August 9  Visit his home and studio to see Limber’s work along with other artists. 187 R Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs.

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