1923 - 2015
Shay Rieger died on Jan. 7, 2015 in Manhatten. Born in NYC in 1923, she was a prominent sculptor and painter, who lived and worked in her beloved Greenwich Village garden aptartment for 45 years. Her artistic passion was animals, and her gift was in bringing them alive in her abstract realism. Her work is represented in numerous public and private collections. Her animal and bird sculptures have been displayed in community centers, public parks, corporate buildings and private homes. Her city park display was chosen for The City Beautiful Award in New York Magazine. She Studied at the Arts Students League, and has exhibited in New York galleries and museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. In recent years her life-size "Bronze Farm" animals were displayed at the Presbyterian Childrens' Hospital in NYC; she wanted her animal sculptures to be touched, climbed on and enjoyed by everyone. Her experience as a sculptor has also been recreated in several books: The Bronze Zoo; The Stone Menagerie; Animals in Wood, Animals in Stone; Our Family; Gargoyles, Monsters, and Other Beasts; and The Secret of the Sabbath Fish. Her films included the award- winning film," The Bronze Zoo", The Clay Circus, The Good Omen, Holocaust-4 Films, The Farm, and The Moon and the Willow.
Shay never stopped creating. In her last year, she was working on a book of original childrens' poems and paintings called "Animals with Attitude."
She was a singular talent, a woman who knew who she was and what her gifts were, and pursued her journey of spirit and self expression.
She will be sadly missed by her brother Charles Preston and his wife Linda Wolf, formerly of Cambridge Ma, now Sarasota, Fla. She will also be missed by her nephew Tony Preston of North Carolina, her great niece and nephews, and especially by her 2 nieces, Pamela Preston of New Mexico and Melissa Fountain of Massachusetts, who were especially close to her.
Through her 91 years as a New Yorker, Shay had many friends in the art world and beyond. They join us in remembering a wonderfully vibrant and gifted artist and woman, an artist who lived through the turbulent changes of almost a century of American art.
Published in New York Times from Jan. 21 to Jan. 22, 2015.