The young Canadian painter Andrew Rucklidge draws on an array of influences that range from the fifteenth century splashed ink painting of Sesshu, the grand panoramas of the American Sublime through to aerial surveillance photographs and diagrams of military conflict. He uses a traditional painting technique — toned homemade chalk grounds and egg-oil emulsion under-painting but overlays this with a unique mixture of transparent liquid-oil and wax. The results are, as the critic Elisabeth Mahoney has described, “slippery, shimmering fantasies (that) hint at the past and future of art and science, as well as the boundary between conscious thought and subliminal freedoms.”
Rucklidge’s paintings invoke the aesthetics of Romantic landscape painting and often take the form of grand apocalyptic panoramic vistas. Yet each work is also inscribed with graphic overlays that speak of a very different age, the contemporary period of military surveillance, planning and operation where warfare is computerised but in practice the same bloody mess that it has always been. In Rucklidge’s works there is ambiguity over which comes first – the swirling, tempestuous topography or the graphically austere military motifs, whether conflict scars the landscape or nature begets war. For Rucklidge, this is why his chosen medium must be painting. “I believe that painting has its own varieties of syntax that cannot readily be appropriated by the mass media, and therefore a relevant medium for the task in hand: to encode the political and technological into new visual events and interpret their effect on humanity.”
Andrew Rucklidge lives and works in Toronto. He received an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2003 and previously studied at Concordia, Montreal. He has exhibited widely in Canada and also in New Contemporaries 2003 in England. He has work in the collections of UBS, Bloomberg as well as a number of private collections.