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Paul Rutz

Paul Rutz

Paul Rutz

Bodies in motion are my subject, even if I'm painting a still life. I love studying athletes and other kinds of dancers (everyone is a dancer), muscles twisting around bones. Composing a painting, for me, always involves considering a viewer who will hopefully dance a little, stepping close to see the brushwork, back again to enjoy the illusion, then to the side to see what's hidden in a fold of plywood or the glint of real gold shining against the wall.

I believe in celebrating our bodies and in studying from every possible angle how art works on our embodied selves. To that end, I've spent the past five years collaborating with psychologists and neuroscientists on exhibits that blend art and science, resulting in original research that we recently took to the American Psychological Association conference, adding new scientific insights about how art conveys meaning and why art matters.

My paintings come from a wish to hold and examine the moments in life I find forceful and fascinating: the beautiful, the strange, the majestic, and the delightful. In the studio, I try to push my own technique ever outward-preparing unusual 2- and 3-D surfaces and practicing innovative methods to apply paint-in the hope that the objects I make communicate something that will fascinate viewers.

My route to painting like this has been full of unexpected turns and continuing education. In early adulthood, I danced ballet whenever I had free time. For a while, after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, that meant giving myself a daily barre at sea on an aircraft carrier. With a dissertation on combat art and the Iraq war, I received a Ph.D. in theory and cultural studies from Purdue University in 2011. More recently I've studied plein-air painting in Virginia, drypoint etching with masters in Italy, and wood carving with sculptors in my current home city of Portland, Oregon. I've had the honor of showing my work at the Smithsonian Institution, the Oregon Military Museum, and commercial and academic galleries throughout the U.S., including my most recent show with Figure Ground Gallery, Seattle, and a forthcoming exhibit at Gay Street Gallery, Virginia.



Address: 606 NE Stanton Street Portland OR 97212

Oil | Painting | Sculpture | Wood
Community: NE Portland
Studio Number: 40