Richard S. Beyer was not only a sculptor, but also a poet and philosopher. His work reflects his philosophical and moral beliefs. Beyer would often expound at great length about his philosophy and ideas about art in general, as well as in the public arena. He spent years arguing for his particular vision of art for the public, a vision that has become lost in the official art word of today. In the height of his career when Beyer started talking about some artistic idea, people would become mesmerized – though sometimes they scratched their heads in puzzlement. Here is a brief outline of his core beliefs.
- Respect and SympathyRespect and sympathy for the common man and woman:
“Respect for the common man and woman is mingled with playful teasing and wit as Beyer illustrated the human race in everyday array… I celebrate the things that make being alive worthwhile: family and friends, work and caring. Conversely I mock the things that debase us: greed, sloth, indifference and complacency.” (RSB) His parents laid the foundation for his respect and understanding of ordinary working people.
"Draggin' His Saddle" (2001) Winthrop, WA, cast bronze
Drawing: "No Such Leg Hold,
Trap Catches the Dreamer"
"Man and Monitor"
- Peaceful RelationsIn support of peace and peaceful relations:
Serving as a foot soldier in WWII reinforced Beyer’s conviction that peaceful solutions to conflict were the only humane option. Also, as a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), he supports political peace movements. “Violence can come in many forms, attacks on the man in all his dimensions, reputation and the like, or simply an assault on his little physical sphere where he feels physical pain, a world wide feeling, yet specific to each of us.” (RSB)
"Peaceable Kingdom", (1984)
Goldmark Library, Madrona
Drawing: "His Soul is the Child Amongst the Animals of the Peaceable Kingdom"
Drawing: "Dove of Peace",
- Distrust of Arstistic WealthDistrust for the accumulation of artistic wealth:
Beyer believed that his artwork belongs to those for whom it was created – not to himself. However, he challenged the notion that only officially recognized artists can earn a decent living. “There is money for the careers of arts professionals but not for the careers of professional artists.” “Art in public places sells the city to tourism and subsidizes downtown interests. There is a high positive correlation between the presence of art in public places and real estate prices.” (RSB)
Drawing: "Destitute Indian Man"
Drawing: "The King"
- Speaking TruthSpeaking truth to power:
Beyer’s parents were professionally and philosophically involved in the New Deal of the 1930s, bettering the lives of working men and women. Therefore, he had great respect for governmental safety nets for those in need. Yet, through experience and education, he gained a strong distrust of corporate power.
Beyer did not hesitate to take on local governmental agencies that were trying to intervene in the art market. “What we see in the administration of the city’s arts ordinance is an example of patronizing intervention. Art is approached as a resource to be developed like fish and game or open spaces.” (RSB)
Cartoon: "Sacred Cow Causes Inflation"
Published in: Fremont Forum Newsletter
Drawing: "The Shakedown"
- Love of Nature and ScienceLove of nature and science:
Throughout his life, Beyer had loved nature and been fascinated with math and science, especially geology. He chose to work with natural materials - in wood, brick, stone and cast bronze and aluminum. He learned by observing and experimenting, and in doing so he developed theories of the 4th dimension.
The fourth dimension has to do with motion – the movement of time and place, and of experiencing inside feelings in relation to things that occur on the outside. “Dimensions enable us to put things in place around us. We stand between an outside and one inside… If we love (or despise) we come closest to seeing ourselves as 4th dimensional.” (RSB)
"The One That Didn't Get Away"
Drawing: "Man and Bear Archeologists"