RICHARD RUTNER

USA

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My current body of work is entitled " Hebraic Fragment Series",  This body of work explores the manipulation of ancient Hebrew letters in numerous abstract combinations 

The inspiration for this series is the "Aleppo Codex", the earliest known manuscript containing the entire text of the Bible. My first group of pen and ink paintings on paper are monochromatic, in black and sepia.  The later groups of oil paintings on Museum Board are explorations of texture and color within the contours of the Hebraic letters.

My other work like, Gizmo Convention, includes oil paintings on canvas based on a series of watercolors, previously created, using forms that are organic and geometric, and placed within an architecturally inspired landscape.  These forms are colorful and often humorous.  Some seem to hover or float in the air, as though randomly tossed there, while others appear like wind-up toys scattered in a surreal room.  This work is a departure from themes of my earlier work, but it retains the strong graphic quality and sculptural feel that is always recognizable in my work.  

During my years as an art student, drawing and painting the human form was most exciting for me.  I spent a year studying painting and printmaking in Rome and gravitated to artists who approached the figure in both traditional and non-traditional methods, from Caravaggio to Richard Lindner.  At the same time, I discovered the art of the Surrealists and was drawn to the works of Miro, Max Ernst, and Friedrich Hundertwasser.  I adopted many of their techniques, including automatic drawing, decalcomania, and frottage, to produce a substantial vocabulary of forms of every size and shape which I then used to develop my paintings and drawings.

I made several trips to Puerto Rico, where I focused on the tropical forms of flora, especially the trees, and experimented with drawing flat images that had a cut-out quality floating on the page. The variations of green in the rain forest easily found their way into my watercolors.

After spending a summer traveling through Asia, absorbing the art of Japanese woodcuts, ancient architecture and calligraphy, I found these elements influencing my printmaking and paintings. I pushed the flatness found in traditional Asian landscapes and figures to create depth and layers of imagery in my own etchings and lithographs.

These experiences led to the creation of a series of paintings on a large scale using calligraphic brushstrokes defined by a negative space background. I also created a modular series using the calligraphic serpentine form in the foreground.  From there, I continued experimenting with depth and negative space, cut-out forms, and leaving the limitations of the rectangle. I made a series of works using gator board and rivets, which attached painted, textured shapes on top of others, and I titled them Eccentric Edges.

Later trips to New Mexico, Colorado, and the interior of Mexico served as inspirations for surreal landscape pastels and an extensive series of drawings and metal wall-relief paintings based on Mesoamerican Indian masks. These works, called Stations of the Mask, along with additional small mask sculptures and pastel landscape-and-mask drawings, were created over an 18 year period. 

As I now divide my time between my studios in Brooklyn, NY and Austin, TX, I continue to explore the landscapes around me, study art and architecture of ancient civilizations, and seek inspiration from established and emerging artists and new experiences.

    © 2020 by Hansford and Sons Fine Art Ltd.

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