Installation view: Lloyd Reynolds: A Life of Forms in Art, 2011. Photo by Dan Kvitka.

Lloyd Reynolds: A Life of Forms in Art

Image Gallery

April 5 - June 12, 2011

"By developing all of our potentialities we might become human, we might even learn to let go, to ride the flux as plants do, responding fully and adequately to the total environment, growing living, organic forms and structures in our social institutions. Change is being what it is, we are going to lose everything anyhow; so what have we to lose? Why don't we ,then, drop the hostilities and just live? The whole universe is at our doorstep; all we have to do is open the door."
—1968, Reed College Commencement speech

Sunday, April 17, from 3:00—7:00 pm, Public Reception at the Cooley Gallery
Celebrating the life and work of Lloyd Reynolds (1902–78). 

On view Tuesday, April 5—Sunday, June 12 at the Cooley Gallery
The Cooley is open every week, Tuesday through Sunday, from 12:00—5:00 pm. Free and open to the public. 

From April 5 through June 12, 2011, the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery is proud to present Lloyd Reynolds: A Life of Forms in Art— the first comprehensive exhibition of the work of renowned Oregon calligrapher, visual artist, Reed College professor, and humanist Lloyd Reynolds (1902-1978). The exhibition includes the finest examples of Reynolds’ calligraphy, in addition to his etchings, wood block prints, drawings, puppets, books, graphic design, and hand-made studio implements. The exhibition also features rare films and photographs of Reynolds at work.

The exhibition has been organized in celebration of the Reed College Centennial (1911-2011) and is curated by Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery Director Stephanie Snyder ’91 and Reed College Special Collections Librarian Gay Walker ’69. A color exhibition catalog will be published by Publication Studio, Portland, and distributed by Reed College free of charge to local schools, colleges, and libraries.

Internationally known as a calligrapher, Reynolds taught at Reed College for 40 years, from 1929 to 1969. At the core of this important historical initiative is a desire to clearly elucidate the artistic contribution and working methodologies of one of Oregon’s most unique artists. Reynolds not only taught at Reed College for four decades, but also at the Portland Museum School, Marylhurst University, and in the Portland Public Schools. Few regional creative figures have had the local and global impact of Lloyd Reynolds. His holistic humanist view influenced and inspired generations of calligraphers, teachers, type designers, artists, poets and writers including: poets Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, William Stafford, and Carolyn Kizer; screenwriter Ben Barzman; and type designers Sumner Stone and Chuck Bigelow.

Lloyd Reynolds was born in 1902 in Bemidji, Minnesota. He came to Portland at the age of 12 and graduated from Franklin High School in 1920. He earned a bachelor's degree from Oregon State University in Botany and Forestry before studying English at the University of Oregon. He taught for two years at Roseburg High School while working toward a master's degree in English literature from the University of Oregon. 

Reed College hired Reynolds as an Instructor in 1929 to teach Creative Writing, English, and then Art History, and the Graphic Arts. Reynolds learned calligraphy through personal research. His informal calligraphy classes in the 1940s resulted in for-credit classes being offered by Reed starting in 1949. Calligraphy stretched to include book design, typography, and printmaking with woodcuts. Reynolds also worked with the Reed College Theatre department, often with his wife Virginia, and produced exquisite graphic design work for the college. Reynolds' classes were always informative and effective but, more importantly, his pedagogy included a history of whatever subject was under study. He brilliantly placed the object of study in the context of its origin and its contemporary relevance.

In 1954, Reynolds was summoned to testify at the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings. Reynolds refused to testify. President Ballantine and the board of trustees suspended Reynolds from teaching summer courses that year. During this time, Reynolds received solid support from Reed students, faculty, and alumni and remained an extremely influential and beloved professor until his retirement in 1969. As a professor emeritus, Reynolds continued to teach workshops and classes up until the time of his death in 1978.

Awarded a doctorate of humane letters by Reed in 1972 and many other honors and certificates, Reynolds received the unusual honor of being named Calligrapher Laureate of Oregon by Governor Tom McCall in 1972, the first such recognition of a calligrapher by any U.S. state. Reynolds was also a recipient of the Governor's Award for the Arts shortly before his death in 1978.

In 1970, Reynolds’ wife of 45 years, Virginia Bliss Reynolds, died in Portland. In 1975, Reynolds married Judith Reynders. Reynolds died in October of 1978, leaving his wife Judith, his two sons with Virginia, John and Richard, and their families.

Lloyd Reynolds: A Life of Forms in Art is generously supportedby a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Portland,Oregon.