O. Rhees Ririe was born in Ogden, Utah in 1928 and passed away in Salt Lake City on April 12, 2011. He was a retired banker whose second career spoke to his love of wood and form.
In 1984, Ririe took early retirement and pursued his interest in woodcarving and furniture making. Although he described himself as self-taught and with limited tools, he had studied with many major furniture makers such as Tage Frid at Brigham Young University and with Sam Maloof and George Frank at the Anderson Ranch Center in Snowmass, Colorado.
Ririe's work was exhibited at the Salt Lake Art Center as part of its Crafts '91 show. Sofa Table was purchased by the Utah Arts Council, and Majorca won the juror's award at the State Council of the Arts exhibition.
Biography adapted from Artists of Utah and information from his family.
Rhees was born in Ogden, Utah in 1928. He graduated from University of Utah with a B.S. degree in 1950. Since retiring as Sr. Vice President at Commercial Security Bank in 1984 he has focused on furniture designing/making of contemporary home furnishings. He has attended workshops and seminars given by nationally known designer/woodworkers at the Anderson Ranch Art Center, Snowmass, Colorado and a Smithsonian Seminar in “20th Century Furniture“ in 1991. Carol Biddle in her book, Crafts: A Legacy of the Tradition and Search for New Forms feels “Rhees Ririe characteristically mixes dark and light woods and varied grains. His breathtaking Lady's Writing Table and Chair is a study in contrasts - black grainless ebony and blond, swirling bird's eye maple.
Since beginning a second life he has been awarded several honors: Utah Crafts 1987, Purchase Award, Utah Museum of Fine Arts; Utah '89 Crafts - juried show; A Dozen and One Furniture Makers, Nora E. Harrison Museum, Utah State University, 1990; Utah '91 Crafts, Juror's Award, Utah Museum of Fine Arts; Kimball Art Center, juried show, 2000; and Union Pacific Depot, juried show, 1997.
Rhees believes his “objective is to enhance beautiful woods with form and finish while creating useful objects. He wants his pieces to be functional and seeks a sculptural quality in some of them. Occasionally he may push the limits of functionality in order to enhance the beauty of wood and form. Respecting his materials, he usually avoids stains and fillers and prefers finishes which are in the wood rather than on it. He also finishes the underside of pieces as carefully as the top.“
Biography courtesy of Utah Designer Crafts Gallery, Summer, 1992.
UDC is now known as the Utah Designer Craft Alliance.
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