August 2020: Thomas Rude

THOMAS RUDE Thomas Rude is both a wood carver and a printmaker. “While attempting to describe my artistic process to a friend, I said “If I knew what I was doing, I wouldn’t do it.” We both laughed. But what I meant was, no matter how evolved my technique or extensive my experience, without the subliminal undercurrent informing my work, the process would become flat and uninteresting. It is an attempt to be receptive to an internal narrative without focusing the mind on it.” Since his early teen years he was drawn to wood and began whittling. Old growth redwood salvaged from beaches, and beams that held up a now-demolished railroad trestle for 100 years, are some of the materials I seek out for carved work. Although I take cues from such early American forms as the whirligig, I’m no historic preservationist: rocket scientists, falling roller- bladers, and other exotics of contemporary culture pop up in my work. The immediacy of the graphic, black and white image drew me into producing linoleum cuts. These carved images and forms are often embellished with collage. The linocuts begin with a drawing which is mostly a guide, allowing things to happen in the carving. The shapes, colors, materials, ingredients are specific and agonized over and accidentally stumbled upon. It is often surprising what comes flapping or oozing out and what remains persistently elusive."