MARK RUTKOSKI

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“…the imitation of nature in her manner of operation.” — Ananda Coomaraswamy

“…the nostalgia for living forms that haunts geometry.” — Jean Baudrillard

“Since no one form is intrinsically superior to another, the artist can use any form whatsoever—from literary expression, either written or spoken, to physical reality—in equivalent fashion.” — Marcel Broodthaers

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2014

“How can a material be a carrier of meaning in specific contexts? By applying a set of rules to a process that is performed on various media, the mechanics of translation in cross-platform analogues is explored."

— artist’s statement

Pas de deux, 2012

“A pas de deux of a poet and the Other, or a word and its context, or an author and the reader, or an artist and the spectator, or a text and its translation. A text as raw material—sorted and stacked, or woven.”

— artist’s statement from Pas de deux published in TrenchArt: Surplus Aesthetics, Los Angeles: Les Figues Press, 2012, pp. 35-41

Words of Love, 2011

“In recent years conceptual artists have undertaken the appropriation and deconstruction of texts and books, in most cases accompanied by a rearrangement of the original material – as in the strategy of “erasure poetics” with the reduction of a source text into verse; in paraphrasing as a method of re-interpretation; in Gareth Long's Don Quixote in the Computer Age based on a computer-generated translation; with Mark Rutkoski [in Words of Love] by means of the statistical arrangement of the material; in David Jourdan’s transformation of prose into another idiom; or in Alison Turnball’s Spring Snow through a visualization of the original text.”

from Janet Boatin “Appropriated Translations: New (re-) Ordering of the Material” (original text in German), presented at Workshop: For the Appropriation of Texts and Books in Books, May 5-7, 2011. Berlin: Free University, 2011, p. 1, 1n2.

Beehives, 1984

This series of works on paper are based on the hexagonal organization of wax cells found in nature.  They are constructed by melting two kinds of wax (microcrystalline, a petroleum by-product used in lost wax casting for the darker, “honey colored” cells and bleached beeswax for the white cells) on handmade paper from Nepal which becomes translucent when immersed in the molten wax.  The flow of the wax over the paper is preserved as the wax cools.  Each hexagon (cell) is cut out separately and welded onto the background with a tacking iron.  The cells are arranged in various formats in order to investigate the transformations performed upon a naturally occurring structure, the beehive.

—artist’s statement accompanying the one-man exhibition, Beehives, at John Gibson Gallery, New York, February 2- March 3, 1984.

Finnegans Wake, 1982

“Rutkoski’s images are visual concepts rather than representations: terse, quasi-geometric and multi-dimensional. The minimal idea of ‘Foreword” that begins the sequence is that of the circle whose plain blue (enamel, wax and paper) hints at the Odyssean colour that Joyce requested for the covers of the first editions of Ulysses.  That circle is then segmented into four in subsequent images to suggest a Celtic cross, a compass, or the Four Ages of Viconian history that underpin the structure and thinking of the Wake.  The circle divides into the Euclidean erotic figure that Shaun explains to Shem in the ‘School-room” episode of Book Two.  Circles are arranged into the perfect astronomical phenomena of ‘Syzygy,’ when the planets fall into alignment.  They offer a series of models of periodization and eventually become the schematized ‘Tree’ that is punningly suggested in Rutkoski’s kabbalistic revision of the hexagonal benzene molecule which makes its first appearance in his ‘Father & Sons’—that molecule on whose discovery much of the modern technology of plastics was founded. Words, or rather verbal signs, play as diligently here as do circles.  The letters of Joyce’s name printed in elegant capitals at the start return in reverse order for the appropriately literary ‘Afterword.’  The Finnegans Wake family characters make their appearances in the letters that algebraically gloss these diagrams: not least in ‘Father & Sons,’ where Shem and HCE are spelled out, leaving an image whose significance oscillates between astronomy and paternity.”

— from Richard Brown, “Mark Rutkoski,” James Joyce Broadsheet (Leeds, England: University of Leeds), no. 15, October 1984, n.p. includes illus. of paintings by Mark Rutkoski.