Art Professor aims to 'KEEP IT SIMPLE'

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John Rudel displays his latest exhibition, colorful sculptural objects and works on paper, at the ArtGallery in Norfolk. On display now until October 31.

By Megan Z. Shearin |   September 23, 2009

altNorfolk/Virginia Beach, Va. – Virginia Wesleyan College’s Assistant Professor Art and Curator of Exhibitions, John Rudel, presents his latest exhibition, KEEP IT SIMPLE, now until October 31 at the Art Gallery in Norfolk, Va.

Color is one of the most important elements of an object’s design and more often than not, the first thing we notice when we look at an object. As such, color constitutes one of the most important facets of an object’s visual character. When used scrupulously, color can draw us in, eliciting a variety of emotions and often affecting us deeply. In KEEP IT SIMPLE, Rudel combines the powerful influence of color with simplicity of form and chance combinations to create a new body of work composed of sculptural objects and works on paper.

Borrowing from the tradition of the American Studio Crafts Movement, Rudel’s latest efforts focus on intense interaction with materials rather than specific content, placing the act of making above all other concerns. Using mostly found objects, basic in their shape, Rudel begins the process of applying paint layer upon layer and then sanding to reveal an “archeology of color.”

According to Rudel, “this process allows for chance combinations to enrich the overall tonality of the forms.”  Works composed of more than one form are then brought together, resulting in relationships which have emerged from the process without preconception. By allowing chance to dictate much of the overall process, Rudel was able to achieve his goal of “keeping it simple.”

Rudel teaches courses in studio art, drawing and painting at Virginia Wesleyan. A native of North Carolina, Rudel has shown at galleries and museums throughout the country, and has won a variety of juried competitions including the 2004 Mississippi Art Commission Artist Fellowship sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the 2002 New American Paintings Magazine MFA Annual Competition. He received his master's degree from the University of Georgia and his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina, Asheville.