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As an artist, I work to find and express my distinctive visual sense. I think written statements by artists concerning what they are about creatively are predisposed to the literary arts. For artists who work with words, written statements are consistent with their chosen forms of expression. For other artists, they are not, and mostly express little. Art criticism, or course, is dependent on words. Creative and critical responses being fundamentally different, few artists successfully exercise both faculties. Still, language can be a useful metaphor as a description of much visual arts practice. Think of some words written in a language you do not know. Those words convey no meaning in the literary sense (so too music — if you cannot read it — or scientific notation and mathematics). Meaning is still conveyed in the presentation of the characters, their shapes and patterns. It is an abstraction. We can only respond, individually, to what the non-sensical marks on the page suggest to us. I can characterize my art in this metaphorical way, as the building of such a visual "language". It has individual "letters" and "words" which are manipulated and combined to form phrases or sentences which in turn lead to complex compositions.

A useful kind of written artist's statement is a list of preferences. This most artists should be able to successfully write. I continue to work with charcoal on paper. After several years of practice, it is still my preferred medium. I do not yet know how color is to emerge in my visual language. Until I have made the determination that releases it, I find it best to compose in black and white.

I find I am equally attracted to multi-part compositions as to single, discreet images. Many of my current pieces are "sequences". That said, they do not necessarily march in a regular way from left to right. Just as easily, they may sequence up or down or be a set of variations on the same "view". I am intrigued by events which we describe with terms like "pulses", or "cycles", or "repetitions". These can combine a recurrent basic form together with infinite variations in emphasis: a strong place for composition to develop.

I respond to work which lends itself to extended contemplation. For me it must, therefore, exist in some permanent, or semi-permanent form. Concepts and ideas, it is true, can be contemplated at length. Much contemporary art is produced where the conceptual components are the permanent ones, with the visual aspects being temporary or secondary or recorded photographically. I still prefer that the visual art itself be compelling and self-sustaining.

Another useful statement is a list or presentation of works which have influenced the artist. These could be inspirational, or instructive, or simply work which is attractive in some sense.  Such works need not be restricted to the visual arts. They can be from any discipline, from any source, really. I believe strongly in sharing some of these alongside my own work when opportunity allows. They are usually not direct influences on the particular pieces I am showing at that particular time. Rather, I hope, they provide perspective on my own creative sensibility.

Jefri Ruchti
Guilford, Connecticut
June 2007

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