Digital culture has changed the way society views the world. Imagery from little flat screens inundates our lives. At some point, we have to question the value of reproductions instead of looking in real time. This is the concern of artist, John Rudel. He chooses imagery that seems familiar and gives us a frame of reference as a starting point, like a crowd scene or clouds. From there, the exploration of patterns, texture, layers, form and mass begins. Time spent simply looking at a work of art becomes a meditative act. It frees the viewer from everyday distractions.
Rudel created these works from found pieces of stainless steel. They are the cast-offs of a manufacturing process, found among the heaps in a scrap yard. They have allowed the artist to abandon the constraints of traditional rectangular paintings. They are the cut-outs, the parts left behind when constructing a useful object such as a washing machine. Rudel has re-engaged these pieces and forces a reexamination of them. Perhaps this is a hint, a metaphor for our own lives. Should we examine constructs that form who we are? If we are less in a hurry to discard what doesn’t work, will we discover a different vision for ourselves, a greater beauty?
John Rudel is Batten Associate Professor of Art at Virginia Wesleyan College where he also serves as Curator of Exhibitions. Rudel was awarded the Batten Professorship in 2014. He has exhibited his work across the country in venues including the Georgia Museum of Art (Athens, GA), the University of Miami Art Museum (Oxford, OH), the Lauren Rodgers Museum (Laurel, MS), the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center (Brooklyn, NY), and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia Beach, VA).