Hemisphere in Steel, Stainless Steel, Arlie RegierÂ
I met Arlie Regier in 1992 at a modest art fair in Kansas City (he was still doingÂ fairs in those days).Â I was impressed with his work in painted steel, but much more impressed with the new work he was doing, at age 62 then, in stainless.Â In other words, at a time when most people are considering retirement,Â Arlie was still evolving as an artist.
Two years later he joined my youngÂ gallery, and I learned a bit of his back story.Â Reared on a Kansas wheat farm near Newton, as a teenager he was always welding things together that made no sense to anyone else.Â So his dad, a Mennonite as Arlie is, decided to send him to art school.Â Now dig that for a second: on the heels of The Depression, and just after theÂ hardships ofÂ World War II, this Kansas farmer realized that his son would be happier as an artist than raising wheat–despite how thatÂ father needed the extra hand.Â That openness is typical of Mennonites, as I’ve learned over the years.
So Arlie studied sculpture and design, then also for awhile studied under Richard Stankewicz, the great “junk sculptor.”Â But he found he couldn’t make a living by his work in the 50s and 60s, so took a job teaching shop metal in a Kansas City junior high (to this day his former students still seek him out).Â Even so he always kept sculpting, and evolving.Â He joined my gallery in 1994, I encouraged further evolution with his concepts, he pursued same, thenÂ in 1996 I began placing him with galleries in San Francisco, Aspen and Santa Fe.Â Why?Â Firstly, because I knew major collectors frequent those markets.Â Secondly, I knew thatÂ success in any major market would favorably impress collectors in my region.Â Â
Eventually Anita and Ronald Wornick,Â serious collectors fromÂ California, stumbled onto Arlie’s work, fell in love with it, and acquired an early Hemisphere.Â Each Hemisphere is made of roughly 1000 pieces of stainless steel, and no two are alike.Â This piece, along with several other works from their craft collection, is being donated to the Boston Musuem.Â The exhibit opens on 9/11, and is called Shy Boy,Â She Devil, and Isis: The Art of Conceptual Craft.Â Â
Arlie and I fly to Boston this weekend.Â We’ll have a little chowder, tour the Constitution, eat at some Italian joint in the North End, and go to the reception on Monday.Â I can’t tell you what an honor it will be for me to take this quiet, humble man to this great city, and great museum, where he and several other artists will be honored.Â We’ve both worked very hard for this–he much harder than I.Â Now, at last, serious payoff will result.
So if you live in a region that is outside the mainstream of the gallery world, and you’re confident that your work is unique, I can’t advise you strongly enough to gain representation in galleries in other cities, especially major cities.Â You never know who might walk in the door next.