Ruddell’s imagery captures a vivid dream-like world seemingly caught in a temporal flux, where figures act out miraculous feats of levitation and balance. We do not know how or why these feats are possible but we stand in silent observation of the phenomenon. The turbulent nature of the subject matter exposes the viewer to the artist’s metaphysical search for “being and identity” in a politically charged time.
For these works Ruddell draws on observations of his family relationships, taking note as his children have transitioned from adolescents to adults and recollecting how he, his wife, and their parents, navigated the same passage of time and there after. The paintings capture, in allegory, how different generations traverse the precarious balance of their youthful dreams with reality. In a rather personal piece, “A Reckless Dreamer,” we see what might amount to a portrait of his son, a filmmaker, whose vision to build is captured in mid-span and in all its messiness.
Like actual dreams, many paintings in “Daydream Believer” are open to vast interpretations, but Ruddell also delves into the political. “It’s Just Weather”, “United We Stand”, “Against The Tide” specifically encourage dialog about current times. The artist states, “…They are a means to visualize the now and build the messy bridge towards the future.”
Ruddell employs dramatic colors and graphic edges that mediate gestural stabs and blurry pulls of paint evocative of hazy memories. There is profound commitment to the act of painting, through which 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, he has exhibited in museums, galleries, and universities throughout the United States.