Artist Statement

The work in this portfolio focuses on two distinct bodies of work.  As an artist and instructor, I work with a variety of creative strategies, whether involved in a collaborative group for site-specific design, in producing art objects, or engaging in performance and time-based concepts.

The first portion of the portfolio is taken from a series of narrative sculptures, which date back to 2004.  These pieces represent an autobiographical and psychological journey, and are developed imaginatively by means of reading folklore, children’s bedtime stories, and listening to elaborate musical lyrics.

The works depict conflicts between figures and the landscape, between figures and unseen forces, and within figures as they reflect upon themselves.  These figures engage in ambiguous states of dream/reality, and fear/confusion, with humor rising from horrific personal and social experiences.

Humor is a common feature and is often utilized, although this may appear to be inappropriate in context of the narrative.  The titles encourage this humor as they provide a quizzical introduction to the events observed, though the events described in the titles may have occurred before, during, or after the visual moment.   Each narrative is a snapshot, which the viewer unravels in their imagination to construct the story behind the image.

The second portion focuses on the use of the English language and the extension of identity.  In one series of works, grammar, its implied meaning, and the corruption of meaning through overuse is illustrated through the ‘printing’ of text onto sheet bronze in the size of a post-it note, or onto tooling wax made to emulate a sheet of legal paper.  The text is sometimes a pun or a bit of eavesdropped-upon conversation, and always serves to create a fragmented narrative.    Another series was inspired by my own genetic makeup, which includes an anomaly known as Klinefelter’s Syndrome.  Left unable to reproduce, I have responded by creating an alter ego based on my last name.   This false individual is only recorded as a myth and exists in the form of bumper stickers and rubber stamps of his thumbprints.  The stickers, with phrases such as ‘The Fruth is out there’ and ‘The Fruth will set you free’ have been placed and photographed in various local, national, and international locations.  The thumbprint stamps are printed in surprising and often ephemeral locations, using not only ink but also the grease from my own skin as a material.

In conclusion, the two bodies of work are separate yet interrelate on many levels, employing a strange sense of humor, an ambiguity of the narrative, and a use of the surreal.  One body of work is more concrete, the other purposefully fleeting.  But all of the work strives to leave the viewer with an appreciation of their own mystery.

Please click here to read Richard Fruth’s Bio.