August 14, 2002
Sue Gerding Ricards Artist and educator Sue Gerding Ricards did not consider herself a painter or a sculptor. “I am a maker of art objects using non-conventional materials. The important part is in the making,” she told people. Her life of making art came to an end on August 1. Memorial services will be held at the Santa Paula Presbyterian Church on Sunday, August 11 at 2 p.m.Sue was born in Ventura in 1946. She was the daughter of Richard and Helen Gerding. She majored in art at Skidmore College, NY and graduated with honors in 1968. She earned her B.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. After college she traveled widely to Europe, USSR, Mexico, China and the Middle East. She was an exchange student to Japan and also led artists’ tours through Europe.Her teaching background was extensive and varied and she taught both children and adults. She was frequently asked to speak to professional groups, teach workshops and to exhibit the art for which she was well known. She was a member of Mensa.She continued to create art up until 2 years ago when declining health caused her to concentrate on other activities. With the help of her assistant, Debbie Charbonneau, she recently pursued sky diving in Paris, CA.Sue was an artist who chose not to be limited by her ability to draw and paint. Her three-dimensional contemporary works and her installations attracted both attention and controversy. She applied her diverse talents to creating in such diverse disciplines as filmmaking, ceramics, photography, environmental and multi-media projects. At the bottom of her resume she stated “Sue Ricards Makes Fine Art.”
One of her most notable artworks was a site-specific installation piece she created for the John Nichols Gallery in 1993. “Barriers” was a huge floor to ceiling curtain of junk and everyday materials separating the bookstore from the emptied gallery. Santa Paula composer Teri Rhodehamel directed a musical performance also called “Barriers” during the reception. Art critic Josef Woodard called it, “a gently subversive gesture that throws art gallery practice into delightful disarray. While not something you want to buy and hang on your wall, it contains ideas worth taking home with you.”She is survived by her husband Will and her son Joseph. Memorial donations can be made to the National Ataxia Foundation or the UCLA Neurological Institute.

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