Peabody resident and artist Lorrie Reynolds is a self-proclaimed gatherer of stuff. Her love for gathering and her artistic talent have merged into a one-woman show, “Belonging,” now on display at the Jones Gallery at Positive Directions in Wichita.
“I’ve always gathered ‘stuff’ —broken bits of ceramics poking out of the dirt, worn wooden pieces from a scrap box, rusted bits of metal or wire found on walks, and tiny treasures found at thrift shops and yard sales,” Reynolds said. “I love things that dangle and sparkle, small doors and drawers that open and close, mirrors that reflects light and faces — all bringing the viewer into the piece. I also have a love of paper and have collected, cut, and glued paper of all kinds for as long as I can remember.”
Now her love of all things that once belonged to someone or somewhere else can be seen, enjoyed, studied, and reviewed.
Reynolds was given the opportunity to do a show at the Jones Gallery because she and her daughter created their own artwork to be auctioned at ArtAID, a fundraiser for Positive Directions, a social service agency in Wichita providing support services to those living with HIV. There she met James Woods, Director of Support Services for Positive Directions, and he encouraged her to do a show of her own.
Reynolds had been a part of several group shows before, but never solely responsible for a complete show of artwork.
“It was nerve-racking to put together a show. I didn’t know if I would have enough quality pieces or if people would want to see a show of my art,” Reynolds said. “I was lucky to meet James at Positive Directions. He helped to calm me, letting me be me, but helping me understand the steps to create a one-woman show.”
Reynolds has always known she was an artist, and she is a creator in most of the things she does in her life.
“I’ve created costumes for my children, recipes in my kitchen, and cards for my friends.”
She also loves words and puns.
“I love play on words and humor, and whimsy without being flip,” she said. “When I give my artwork a title, it has a relationship to the content.”
Many of Reynolds’ pieces have titles that show her love of language. The exhibit includes a piece with three cameras displayed together, titled “Instamatic Mobile.” “Show of Hands” is a playful piece with a stage full of performing hands. There is also “Oasis,” a desert piece complete with a camel, and “Fiesta,” a colorful piece.
There are 25 pieces in the exhibit. Each is unique in use of tools, materials, and thought. Some of the paper pieces are so finely detailed and it is hard to recognize that they are collages. They take on the effect of a photograph or one-dimensional painting.
On opening night of her exhibit, more than 1,000 people viewed her display of assemblage and collage.
Five pieces of the collection have been sold since the opening. Her works will remain on display through September. Hours for the gallery are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The gallery is located at 414 S. Commerce St., Wichita, close to the newly constructed Intrust Arena.
Reynolds grew up in Abilene, the younger sister to two older brothers. She moved to Peabody when her husband, Tony Zappone, was hired by USD 398 as a teacher. The couple has two children, now both in college. Anna is a senior at Emporia State University and Joseph is a freshman at Kansas State University.
Reynolds points out that living in a small town has true benefits.
“I have people bring me bits of this and that that they have found,” she said. “I’m always happy when people give me small things that I can use in my pieces.
“I have also received tremendous help from Mark Whitney at Peabody Hardware. He helps me cut or drill or has suggestions on how to go about attaching things to my artwork.”
The title of her show, “Belonging,” is very personal and is exactly what her pieces represent.
“When offered choices in life, whether ordering from a menu or planning a vacation itinerary, many things appeal to me and I find I want it all,” Reynolds said. “Instead of this or that, I want this and that. My collages and assemblages reflect this, showing many layers, many things, a lot of stuff — all belonging together.”