Words of our time

Whether it is the way of the Egyptians, or the rice writing by the Japanese, or the beautiful Islamic calligraphy as well as by Pierre-Jules Renard (1864-1910) who integrated the image and word in his large lithographs, Word as Art has been a tradition. Today, there is Paul Rusconi whose art is capsule of time and culture. He uses words, expressions and phrases as his art form in large shadow boxes made with two plains of Plexiglas, where he paints upon in various media.

     In viewing the artworks by Rusconi, I am reminded of Plato’s shadows at the back of the cave being our reality; of course, there was also Joseph Cornell who captured his world in boxes. Now there is The Rusconi, a creator who makes these images contemporary and in the form of The Word, like his painting “Really” which could be interrupted either as a statement, or a sentence, however it could also be an answer.

     There are many profound influences in Rusconi artistry. His mother was an artist who exposed him to all the 1960-70s American contemporaries. Born in 1965 and by the age of sixteen, Paul started his artistic journey with Basquiat, Warhol and the Camera Obsura – they gave him a new way of thinking and perceiving the world. Also his influences began to soar as he got to know many of the artists, including Chuck Close, Gilbert and George, Robert Rauschenberg and Ed Ruscha.

     As a philosophy major at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, the word was the essence. It was only natural that painted or written word would appear in Paul’s work. He left the university to be a part of the art scene in Soho, where he experienced the Word Paintings of Franz Erhard Walther which echoes those his current works today.

     Upon his return to the Los Angeles region, Rusconi would capture the worlds of artists, musicians and politicians. Currently, he is fascinated with the iconography of pop culture and wide-reaching skateboarders to sub-culture of the calligraphy of taggers. Rusconi said, “The way in which people speak, including slang and contemporary vernacular is a photographic snapshot of the social and cultural moment in any given time period.”

     Such is his life, a single father of twin girls; he is more concerned with the Idea and Ambiguity because there is so much room for interpretation. The words and phrases that he captures in his Plexiglas shrines are always in double surfaces with a multitude of meanings; thusly, his very being is reflected in duality and each their own identity.

Barack Obama, 2008 by Paul Rusconi, digital screen inks on Plexiglas with c-print, mounted to sintra in the artist’s wooden frame, Courtesy of the International Contemporary Art Foundation, Laura Lee Brown, and Steve Wilson, Louisville, Kentucky.

     Rusconi’s works are in institutional collections, including his portrait of Barack Obama in the Art in Embassies Program, Carnegie Art Museum, Fredrick R. Weisman Art Foundation, 20th Century Fox, Batonga Foundation, Washington, D.C., Castilla Foundation, Madrid, Spain, Fundacion Jumex, A.C., and Mexico City, Mexico as well as many others. In addition just to name a few, his art is  in many global private collections like Ed Rushcha, Rupert Murdock, Rosetta Getty and Camille Annenberg.

     On view through Saturday, September 15, 2012 at the Hadid Gallery (www.hadidgallery.com) in West Hollywood, California, “Paul Rusconi : Words and Phrases” is as I saw it, was truly an artistic feast for my eyes and ears because he has taken this tradition, he has given it a new life in our current time, but what I really have discovered; he has left his own original imprint – those history will earmark as timeless masterpiece artworks.

By Tony Clark, Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres 

Photography by Joshua White  www.jwpictures.com



Editor’s note: For the digital print version (pdf), click on the type below to open:

 Words of our time-Paul Rusconi

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Published by on September 2012. Filed under Two Sisters Bookmart. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

9 Comments for “Words of our time”

  1. Terrific piece – Tony always has such an interesting insight.

  2. Larry Sams

    His use of language should be particularly interesting at this time in our history when it is being maniupualted and/or corrupted due to new ways of communication such as texting and twitter, along with the continuing influence of rap. I look forward to visiting the gallery.

  3. East Asia Marty

    Terrific article on Rusconi. You are a very good writer Chevalier Clark. His portrait of President Obama should be in the White House. Keep in touch.
    Cheers from Cebu and East Asia,

  4. Bruno Duluc


  5. What a wonderfully written piece on a man. Future generations are sure to refer to as another Italian Master.www.GaryJordanPR.net

  6. You did it again, Tony….another great find, another great article….another great artist. http://DanPyleArtist.com

  7. Love reading The Tony Clark Reports because they are always insightful! http://www.larkgallery.org

  8. Monty Hill


  9. What a beautifully presented discovery of a talent! Thank you, Tony! Just brilliant! Insightful, elegant, scalpel-precise use of language.

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