March 3 – March 26, 2016
Gallery Henoch is pleased to present a new selection of paintings by Gary Ruddell. The exhibition titled “Little Journeys” is the artist’s second solo show in New York and his first since 2008. The 12 paintings in the exhibition were completed over a two and a half year period from 2013 – 2016. A public reception will be held Thursday, March 3rd from 6-8pm. The exhibition will run March 3 – March 26, 2016.
Ruddell’s allegorical landscapes, inhabited by few or isolated figures, explore the ideas of connectedness, duty, and aspiration. The worlds constructed focus on a cast of characters, children and young adults who balance adolescent awkwardness, virtue and interdependence. In the quest to connect, the youths diligently perform a specific task, often repetitive in nature; they make innumerable paper airplanes, miniature houses or chalk drawings, and send them out to be discovered. The artist comments, “(They) are trying to connect, to communicate (or learn) a certain piece of knowledge, attaining it requires perseverance and iteration.” The works are precariously balanced, intertwining confidence and insecurity with the psychological tensions that inhabit the inexperienced. All the while there is a sense Ruddell is channeling a global story that he relates through the metaphor of youth: refugees searching for asylum, social struggles, or grievously divided politics. The references are kept subtle, yielding to a pervasive sense of a narrative withheld, waiting to be sought out and found. This is Ruddell’s invitation to the viewer.
To further the allegory, Ruddell’s characters often appear in ambiguous settings reminiscent of a memory or dream, which while grounded in reality, allow for supernatural events. In the series Island Home, a young man floats a small paper house toward another boy-inhabited island. Throughout the picture an apparition of the paper house repeatedly appears in an ooze of yellow paint. Be it ghostly communiqués or acts of levitation there is a sense of the miraculous. The artist’s concern is to create a situation that allows one to react and reflect.
Ruddell employs a painting style that varies in approach. Dramatic colors and graphic shapes mediate gestural stabs and blurry pulls of paint evocative of hazy memories. There is profound commitment to the act of painting, utilizing tactile surfaces that are simultaneously ethereal and lusciously nuanced. Through this technique, Ruddell frames a world that is both fleeting and eternal.
Gary Ruddell was born in 1951 in San Mateo, CA. He holds a BA of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts (1975), and is a noted illustrator of science fiction novels. Throughout the 1980s Ruddell was a concept designer for 20th Century Fox where he worked with notable film directors. By the early 1990s Ruddell, ready for a change, made the shift to working exclusively on personal projects. Since the shift he has exhibited in museums, galleries, and universities throughout the United States.
Gallery Henoch, 555 West 25th Street (between 10th and 11th Ave). Subway: C or E to 23rd St. Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:30 am - 6:00 pm or by appointment. FREE & Open to the public. For more information, please contact Andrew Liss at 917.305.0003