With these forty portraits I ask, who plays into those stereotypes? Those boys and girls in my paintings, who are they? They're all my children, but I hadn't asked who they are until now. I decided to poke fun at the high school yearbook by showing who these kids really would be -- not who their parents or teachers would want them to be.
High school is a melting pot of identities and stereotypes; the perfect Petri-dish to study someone's personal character. At school, our self-awareness grows painfully clear during puberty and we feel terribly anxious and exciteable, isolated even while surrounded by others like us. Each of us copes in different ways to get through it.
The thick impasto, vivid colour, and broad brush strokes together give texture and movement to the pimple-faced fidgety teenagers of my imaginary world.
While these portraits grew more defined, it felt natural for me to group them into cliques to further develop their personalities. When installed together, each portrait reacts agains the next and I can feel a narrative unfolding. It adds another layer of character; much more exciting than the stale, rudimentary yearbook arrangement."
(Ryck Rudd, February 2021)
The works are divided between 5 walls (A-E), each containing 8 portraits as part of installation by the artist.
While the UK remains under lockdown, my latest exhibition will be viewable online with higher resolution imagery on the EvB website. I invite you to pour over the textures and brushmarks like I do with my favourite painters Soutine and Ensor, who inspired the painting style for this series.
Creating traditional art in Western Australia is a rather odd business. Lockdowns here have been very brief and we mostly keep on with the daily rituals of going to work or buying stuff. Still, artists remain aware that if restrictions return mid-exhibition, their time and resources would fall to waste. I don't blame anyone who avoids the risk; I'm only very lucky to be with a gallery that manages both digital and physical space. For years, EvB has been providing online access to exhibitions.
With economic uncertainty I presumed people would cease collecting and investing in art. But all throughout the pandemic my experiences have been surprisingly fortunate. I've sent paintings to locked-down cities, interstate and overseas. I was quite confused at this, but it does make sense that, while people are spending more time at home, they wish to spend it with art.
For any enquiries on the paintings in LEAVERS' BOOK, please contact me directly or gallery Emanuel von Baeyer.