C. Grimaldis Gallery is pleased to present "Terra Firma", a solo exhibition by John Ruppert. The exhibited works extend from the artist’s ongoing investigation of human intervention on the natural within a framework of material-based processes.
Consuming the entire front of the gallery, "Bittersweet", 2017 is a sprawling installation of cut and reassembled Asiatic bittersweet vine. The artist manipulates this invasive plant’s tendrils to construct a drawing in space. With its thin bark and drastic coils, the vine appears limb-like and alien in stark contrast to the gallery’s architecture.
Ruppert initially envisioned the bittersweet vine as a metal work. "Sea Cave with Vines", 2016 is an aluminum sculpture in which sprues and other remnants of the casting process are left intact as visual cues. Similar to the artist’s previous presentations of section molds as sculptures, Ruppert includes leftover elements of construction in the final object which link it inextricably with the means of its process.
Exposing evidence of the artist’s hand in otherwise seamless reproductions of natural objects is an integral part of Ruppert’s process-based work. If not for a polished edge or buffed surface, the patina on oxidized bronze or rusted iron can easily be mistaken for stone. Ruppert’s sculptures at once preserve natural phenomena and confound material, producing a harmonic balance between natural order and human effort.
The photographs in the exhibition also echo this mindset. Taken on a recent visit to the Cave Focolaccia quarry in Italy, composites of multiple images are digitally stitched together to foreground the physical presence of the landscape. The quarry images document the site of a natural resource industry and contain an element of time; capturing the slow removal of the solid earth beneath us. "Terra Firma" showcases Ruppert’s fluid skill with cast metals, rapid prototyping, photography and light, presenting works which harness energy to engage structure and calibrate dynamic systems.
The exhibition will be on view from September 21 through November 4, 2017. An opening reception will take place on Thursday, September 21 from 6 - 8pm. Hours for C. Grimaldis Gallery, which is free and open to the public, are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am - 5:30 pm.