WASHINGTON, DC.- Industry Gallery
will open If I told you one time
May 15, 2010, 6‐8PM, the first solo U.S. exhibition for New York‐based designer Chris Rucker. The exhibition will run through July 3, 2010, and features 10 limited edition works and one installation all created during the past nine years.
Ruckers design ethos is rooted in the use and reuse of simple and humble material. His principal medium, oriented strand board (OSB), an engineered wood product made from fast‐growing trees, is usually used for flooring, walls, ceilings and other construction purposes. OSB is a composite sheet material like plywood, but with less structural integrity. His design aesthetic weds the asceticism of Donald Judd with the rule‐based principles of Sol LeWitt, to yield what Rucker calls a rectilinear vocabulary. (Rucker also cites Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra and Matthew Barney as influences). In 2007, he began making cushions and quilts from packing blankets.
His construction process utilizes plywood box construction, which involves dados, miter joints and working with a table saw. He operates within the confines of a relatively simple equation: apply basic plywood box construction principles to strand board to create minimal, functional furniture with structural integrity. It was in working through the limitations inherent in the material that the process morphed into something other than typical box construction, said Rucker, adding, I eventually evolved the process into something specific to OSB. Referring to LeWitt,Rucker notes: I like repeating something within an equation, tweaking the variables and pushing a piece to the point where it abstracts from its original form and becomes something new. Rucker does not design with a computer, but sketches constantly, from twenty minutes to hours daily as he notes: the sketch book at work is open all the time, and its something to which I refer constantly.
Chris design sensibilities and vocabulary really stand out in the contemporary design world as distinct, fresh and seductive, said Industry Gallery owner Craig Appelbaum. His work is beautiful and impeccably crafted, with an intriguing hint of psychological tension.
Chris Rucker grew up in a colonial‐era home in Mansfield Center, Connecticut. His father was an educational psychologist at the University of Connecticut in neighboring Storrs, and his mother was a kindergarten teacher. Exposure to my fathers wood working shop and my mothers quilt making skills, along with a family penchant for making instead of buying, provided a strong foundational interest in art and design, said Rucker. In 1995 he received a BFA in sculpture at the University Connecticut (working with metal, rubber and sculptural ceramics), and in 1996 moved to New York. Though he had worked with OSB, it wasnt until the winter of 2000, while a general contractor, that he started applying the material to finish surfaces (floors, walls, ceilings) and experimented with it constantly. In 2001 he made his first series of tables and chairs.
Its ironic that growing up surrounded by real material wide beam floors, wood paneling and a stone heath I always gravitate towards faux materials and materials made to imitate others. I was always intrigued by what was real and what was fake.