Margaret Curtis: This, too. opens Friday, June 21 in the Street Gallery

David Ruhlman: A History of the Hidden World

May 10, 2013 – Aug 1, 2013

Fixed between the states of choas and serenity, David Ruhlman’s mixed media paintings are visual palindromes reflecting the circular nature of beginnings and endings. A History of the Hidden World is an exploration of double entendres, surreal metamorphosis and natural phenomena. These themes relate to apocalypticism and how this mysterious fantasy spawns concepts of beauty and transcendence.

Drawing on French playwright Antonin Artaud who used strange and disturbing effects to perplex his audience, Ruhlman’s work depicts peculiar and anthropomorphic motifs that lead viewers through hidden worlds. The artist experiments with form, color and texture, resulting in his own unique visual language. Recurring images of rams, reptiles, birds and fragmented figures tell stories that are not linear, but rather are repetitive trajectories of whimsical fable.

“Ruhlman’s paintings depict strange and charming imagery, revealing wondrous realms of fragmented narratives and untold histories.” Says Assistant Curator Becca Maksym. “Employing allegorical concepts of pandemonium, this body of work presents the world as a rearranged and transformed place where one is continually led through a labyrinth of doppelgängers, anthropomorphic creatures and uncanny fantasies.”

A History of the Hidden World is a mirror to another dimension where meaning and imagination are wound together in layered knots of symbols and forms. One is able to trace an undiscovered history that continually reflects back on itself, neither beginning with a starting point nor providing a final conclusion. What is left is a new world order that does not implicate perfection or organization in the traditional sense, but allows for an unruly explosion of continual wonder and possibility.