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Joe Rudko
PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer


Joe Rudko, "Chromatic Gradient," 2014, shredded photographs on paper, 30 x 22"

Continuing through February 28, 2015

One of the pleasures of viewing an emerging artist’s first solo show is witnessing the explosion of pent-up pictorial ideas finding fevered expression. Like the seminal albums of great rock bands and singer-songwriters, the first presentation of visual ideas can be dizzying in its ambition and prescient of developments to come. Such is the case with Joe Rudko’s “Picturesque,” which is his first solo gallery exhibition. And it’s a hit. 

With both sensitivity and virtuosity, Rudko uses photographs — found photos and images he takes himself — as the basis for meticulously constructed collages on paper. In “Chromatic Gradient,” he has ripped and cut up photographic prints into hundreds of shreds and tatters, then placed them vertically, their chromatic values suggestive of a wave slowly cresting. In “Coastline” Rudko uses imagery from a seacoast as only the most basic of departure points, warping and pulling the print like taffy across the picture plane, creating a “Z” shape that reads as pure geometric abstraction. Throughout the exhibition, the artist deploys the conceit of destroying and reconfiguring photographs in ingenious, seemingly inexhaustible inventions. One hopes he will be able to sustain this momentum in his sophomore effort and beyond.


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