Paul X. Rutz received his Ph.D. in Theory and Cultural Studies from Purdue University in 2011 after writing a dissertation on combat art and the Iraq war. That year Rutz took his portrait painting practice to Portland, OR, where he develops life-size oil paintings working almost exclusively with live models. For every picture in the show, Paul has choreographed every body and prop in his studio, sketched them, repositioned them and started over.
“I make up rules for myself. For the paintings hanging here, I measured every body part and every plate or spoon at exactly life size, so to some extent all these pictures communicate what it’s like to be there sizing up the subject,” says Rutz. “That’s why I carved through panels in some of these pictures, setting real shadows against trompe l’oeil shadows. It’s a chance to indulge in some echo of the 3-D parallax we see when we walk past things.”
Paul Rutz’ past exhibitions include solo shows at both Portland and Clatsop Community Colleges and group shows at Mark Woolley Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution. His series of dual-media portraits of combat veterans, titled Between Here and There, has traveled to galleries in Portland, Vashon Island, WA, and the Oregon Military Museum. Rutz also writes about visual culture, with recent publications in the Huffington Post, Modern Fiction Studies, and Cincinnati Review.