Orlando artist and architect Richard Reep makes treasure from trash in ‘Burglitecture’

‘It’s a larceny of the landscape, a heinous heist of high design’

Artist Richard Reep at the opening of "Burglitecture"
Artist Richard Reep at the opening of "Burglitecture" courtesy photo

Hollerbach's Art Haus in Sanford is currently hosting another intriguing exhibit in Richard Reep's Burglitecture, which begs the question: What exactly is burglitecture?

Event Details


Through June 22

Hollerbach's Art Haus 205 E. First St., Sanford Sanford

Here's the opening salvo from the artist's statement: "It is unbuilding, it is thievery of architecture for a subversive purpose: art. It's a larceny of the landscape, a heinous heist of high design. Burglitecture breaks and enters the sacred temple of Architecture and robs it of dignity and purpose."

It reads like a manifesto from an architect who's mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore; who's had it with our mostly crapulous, eyesore-laden environment. And it's something that tuned-in local art patrons can latch onto as a battle cry.

click to enlarge "Erosion of Embezzlement" - art by Richard Reep
art by Richard Reep
"Erosion of Embezzlement"

As for the work itself, Burglitecture pugnaciously straddles Reep's vocation as an architect and his collection of purloined cast-off objects, gathered while traveling through Florida's landscapes.

Orlando Weekly asked him about his particular motivations for all this. "I basically steal trash from my projects' construction dumpsters and from my neighbors' yards, and then make art out of it," says Reep. "Going a bit further ... I also steal ideas and concepts from my day job as an architect, and put them into art during my night shift."

If you've been following Reep's art practice for any length of time, you've observed that he's chronically unable to stop himself from going a bit further out every time: suburban malaise strewn across a theme park-apocalypse contrasts with eye-pleasing splashes of color and rhythm. (Disclosure: Reep has written many art reviews for Orlando Weekly.)

Reep's still unable to stop. He's worked in a nod to notorious architect-turned-prolific bank robber George Leonidas Leslie in Burglitecture's narrative. This aristocrat-architect-antihero hobnobbed amongst the 19th-century robber barons, designing buildings for them, and then using that design knowledge to break into their houses and banks and abscond with their ill-gotten gains. Reep gives a little mischievous wink here, perhaps a sign of our times? Another subtle battle cry?

Reep's point of view is not unlike David Hockney's, with his stark, modernist depictions of Southern California. It is a reference that viewers would do well to take note of. From one Orange County to another, both Hockney and Reep document a land of unique natural beauty where inhabitants are ensconced in an architecture that's also been made into a realm of make-believe. Reep picks up some of the ideas and aesthetics expressed from this period of Hockney's career and charges into the Floridian glare with them, his architect's eye twisting his art.

click to enlarge "No One Saw Us or Heard Us" - art by Richard Reep
art by Richard Reep
"No One Saw Us or Heard Us"

There's an interesting sidenote to make here. A similar look and feel can be seen in the recent work of regional artists Justin Luper and Matt Duke, who both acknowledge a fondness for Hockney. Add Reep into the mix and perhaps we have a mini-school of thought that expands on Hockney's ideas in an inherently Sunshine State-influenced manner.

Reep hosts a Found Object Workshop at Hollerbach's Art Haus on June 7 at 5:30 p.m., where he will share some of his unique perspective to artists looking for ways to express their own rebellion against this world via the act of creative recycling.

Until then, if you see Reep on the street staring suspiciously at a building, give him a wink and a nod back. And watch your trash carefully. You may just find some of your cast-offs recycled and refashioned into art.

Location Details

Hollerbach's Art Haus

205 E. First St., Sanford Sanford


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