David paints primarily in gouache on wood panel, often collaging newspaper or pages from old books to the surface of the board, and then covering with an acrylic wash. He experiments with form, color and texture, resulting in his own unique visual language that is not linear, but rather made up of fragmented narratives and untold histories. He views art as a process, an investigation of materiality, color and form. David tries to not be bound by any specific genre or style of painting; it is through continual experimentation that he finds enjoyment and gratification with his artistic practice.
Employing allegorical concepts of pandemonium, his body of work presents the world as a rearranged and transformed place, where one is continually led through a labyrinth of doppelgängers, double entendres, metamorphosis and natural phenomena. We are left with a world rearranged, but one that does not implicate perfection or organization in the traditional sense, but allows for an unruly explosion of continual wonder and possibility.
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In the center of David Ruhlman’s UMOCA exhibition, standing like an altar, there is an ancient card table. The black material of the table is rubbed off around the edges, with the old plywood substructure showing through at the corners and in patches across the surface. Painted across all this is a large ram’s head. Curling horns, tender little mouth, thick nappy wool, black eyes staring at you. The piece is called “The Ram.” The same ram is repeated in several of the other pieces in the show. “The ram, entity, in my mind was this, I wouldn’t say deity, but this thing that was in charge of the event,” David Ruhlman tells me as we stand amongst his paintings. By “event” he means apocalypse, and the paintings in the show, A History of the Hidden World, feature several apocalypses, as well as the beginning of the world, some creative mis-starts in the early world, and an ode to Edvard Munch, among other things…
Read the full article in the July 2013 edition of 15 Bytes.
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