Renata Reck

Evolution by Renata Recks

(November 6, 2021 article in Hill Country News)

An impulse to carve things has developed into a career in art with international recognition and inclusion in a sesquicentennial sculpture exhibit for Renata Reck.

Reck and her husband, Frank, have recently completed building a new home east of liberty Hill, a location chosen because of the proximity to local limestone quarries, the source of the stone Reck prefers for her works.

Wreck was born in Germany in 1939 after marrying her husband at age 20, the couple moved to Canada where her husband was beginning a management career with Hilton Hotels. After stents in Canada, Mexico, and Jamaica, the Recks were sent to the island of Malta.

And following a creative impulse, Reck had done some wood carving but had never been satisfied with the medium or the results of her efforts. On Malta, she picked up a piece of stone and began working on it. The stone was soft and easily worked bringing her a sense of delight and a feeling that she had at last uncovered her talent.

“my first tools were a meat cleaver and a wood chisel,” Reck said, recalling her beginnings as a stone sculptor.

Her talent is her own: she never attended our school or had any instruction and no one in her family is artistically inclined.

After living in Malta and developing her skill, the family returned to Canada, eventually moving to Houston where she heard about the stone quarries in central Texas, and in particular about quarries near Cedar Park.

“One weekend my husband and I drove up to Austin. We stopped at Dobie mall near the university and I went into a record shop and asked a girl at the counter if she knew where the quarries were. Amazingly she did and told us how to get to the Featherlight quarry,” Reck said. “I was the happiest person on earth when I saw the quarry.”

Soon the Recks decided to locate property and build a home near the quarry and with the assistance of another liberty Hill sculptor  Mel Fowler, located a suitable site and built a house.

Reck met Fowler at the sculpt your symposium he organized in 1978 that brought a number of internationally known artist to liberty Hill to work before the public, leaving the works they created as a gift to the community.

Over the years since first working with rock on Malta, Reck had continued to use manual method to create her pieces of art. However, fowler persuaded her to switch to power tools – an air compressor driven chisel and electric grinding tools – to speed up her work.

“to do shows, an artist must have an inventory of work. Working by hand it takes forever. With the power tools I can create pieces much faster,” The sculptress said.

Although most of The work on her pieces is done with power tools, final sanding and find detail work is still done by hand.

Reck describes her work as “modern abstract. “Her sculpture features smoothly flowing lines and smooth finishes that suggested the themes of the work, allowing the mind of the viewer to interpret them in a personal way.

When she begins to carve a piece of rock, Reck already knows what it is going to look like. “The first thing I do is create it in my mind and I give it a name. I know exactly what it is going to be before I start, “she says. “I take my themes from nature and from life. ”

Reck favors the central Texas limestone because it is soft, “like butter, “and easy to carve and finish.

In addition to the evolution of her carving style and the development of her career, rack has seen a change in her family. “Once I am carving something, I can’t say ‘oh it’s time to cook’ and drop it. I have to keep working. It used to be hard for my husband to understand that. But he has learned that art is important to me and does his part. He understands that it’s not like his work where he can put everything in a drawer at 5 p.m. and come back in the morning, ” Reck said. “Once I have a rock in my hand, you can’t take me away. ”

Along with the personal satisfaction she receives from doing her work and the acceptance and recognition from her family, rack has received recognition from the art world. She has had exhibits in the places around the world she and her family have lived and the recognition of other artists such as Fowler. The international sales of her pieces over the years has also reinforced her worth as an artist.

“That’s good, because it’s not enough to have your husband, your children, and your neighbors tell you that you are good. I want to be accepted as an artist and I wnt to people to see the beauty that I see.”

Reck’s talents and skill have been recognized by being selected to be one of the artists included in the Sesquicentennial exhibit called “Celebrating Texas Sculpture- 150 Years of Liberty,” Nov. 10-Dec. 5 at the New Republic Plaza in downtown Austin.

Along with the other exhibiting Texas sculptors, Reck will be completing for a special “Governor’s Award,” and a “People’s Choice Award.”

It’s very exciting to be included in this special showing,” Reck said. “It gives me a lot of personal satisfaction.”

Story by Richard Finnell