Eclectric Oil and Light (EOL) is John Rickus and Carlie Todoro-Rickus. Their body of work focuses on light as performance, as director of movement, and as partner to objects. In SCAN, a tubal light sculpture becomes a performance of viewer created cues. This work utilizes the process of information input, translation, and output in visual form to create a kinetic light sculpture. The medical industry currently relies on the scan in many forms to diagnose and treat a variety of ailments. The medical scan gives no agency to the scanned, and leaves only the daunting wait on the visual output and subsequent diagnosis. SCAN puts the viewer in control of outcome in a playful and relaxing gesture, and the ability to change the result of the scan if the initial output is undesirable. In 2016, a temporal installation illustrating the potential of the SCAN piece was installed in the conference room glass wall for one night during the Burchfield Penney’s 50th Anniversary celebration, Golden. This piece was well-received by those in attendance and is ready for a new site, shape and reworked technology.
EOL’s work has been exhibited in the form of sculptural light installations in gallery spaces and in site-specific theatre performances. They have exhibited at Big Orbit Gallery, The Burchfield Penney, Silo City, Satellite Miami, and in many productions for Torn Space Theatre (TST). They have created light installations for Virtual Reality artist Flatsitter, including work seen in VR and as external environments for VR installations.
In 2016 some of their work for Torn Space Theatre was published in Chance Magazine, an art publication that features international avant-garde art and design. In June, their lighting design for TST’s site-specific production They Kill Things (2015) represented USA design work at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (PQ) in a body of TST work. The Prague Quadrennial is often described as the Venice Biennale of Performance Design. TST is one of only 30 designers and collectives representing the USA professional exhibit in Prague this year. Also included in this body of work at PQ 2019 is Carlie’s scenographic performance art piece, excavator pas de deux, created for TST’s The Gathering (2017). Bruce Jackson described this excavator performance as “…simultaneously beautiful and terrifying,” in a review for The Public. Carlie’s light sculpture Storehouse for TST was included in the USA’s student and immerging designer exhibit at PQ 2015. This piece was responded to favorably by director and lighting designer Robert Wilson who sketched her a suggestion for reinstallation on the spot.
John Rickus is a prolific theatrical lighting designer. His most recent light design was described by Buffalo News arts critic Ben Siegel as “…dramatic enough to be its own character.” John has a degree in Communication Television and Theatre Arts from Valparaiso University. He has been the resident designer for Road Less Traveled Theatre (RLTP) since it’s 2003 inception and designs annually for Theatre of Youth (TOY) (Artistic Director Meg Quinn), Runway fashion show (Producer Erin Habes), and Torn Space Theatre (Artistic directors Daniel Shanahan and Melissa Meola.) John has been nominated for numerous Buffalo Artie awards for outstanding lighting design. He was awarded the honor five times for The Man with All the Luck (RLTP 2009), A Wrinkle in Time (TOY 2012), Clean House (RLTP 2013), An Iliad (RLTP 2014), and Frankenstein (RLTP 2017). He also was the environmental lighting designer for EnLIGHTen, a collaboration between the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) and artist Projex. In EnLIGHTen the BPO played a concert of works by composers who lived with mental illness while creating great works accompanied by a video art installation projected on the architecture of the Richardson Complex, the former site of the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. John also works as the Head Carpenter for the UB Production Group at UB Center for the Arts.
Carlie has a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in sculpture and an MA in Performance Studies from The University at Buffalo. Her early use of light in metal sculpture led her to explore the light itself as the sculpture medium and as a tangible partner to dancers and machines in experimental performance pieces. Influenced by artists Anthony McCall, Kris Verdonck, Robert Wilson, and others, she pursued a masters degree that was based in art practice as research. Carlie combines sculpture and performance lighting into SCAN for The Burchfield Penney.Her work is often interactive, influenced by her work in the field of arts in medicine. Carlie has been an Artist in Residence at Oishei Children’s Hospital and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center since 2009. She engages patients and their families in the creative process for relaxation, self-actualization, and pain management using a flow state of creativity first described by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. She also collaborates regularly with dancer/choreographer Cynthia Pegado and her Art Moves Me Parkinson’s dance group.