| ART OPENINGS |
Rucker’s design ethos is rooted in the use and reuse of simple and humble material. His principal medium, oriented strand board (OSB), an engineered wood product made from fast‐growing trees, is usually used for flooring, walls, ceilings and other construction purposes. OSB is a composite sheet material like plywood, but with less structural integrity. His design aesthetic weds the asceticism of Donald Judd with the rule‐based principles of Sol Lewitt, to yield what Rucker calls “a rectilinearvocabulary.” (Rucker also cites Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra and Mathew Barney as influences). In 2007, he began making cushions and quilts from packing blankets.
His construction process utilizes plywood box construction, which involves dados, miter joints and working with a table saw. He operates within the confines of a relatively simple equation: apply basic plywood box construction principles to strand board to create minimal, functional furniture with structural integrity. “It was in working through the limitations inherent in the material that the process morphed into something other than typical box construction,” said Rucker, adding, “I eventually evolved the process into something specific to OSB.” Referring to Lewitt, Rucker notes: “I like repeating something within an equation, tweaking the variables and pushing a piece to the point where it abstracts from its original form and becomes something new.” Rucker does not design with a computer, but sketches constantly, from twenty minutes to hours daily – as he notes: “the sketch book at work is open all the time, and it’s something to which I refer constantly.”
“Chris’ design sensibilities and vocabulary really stand out in the contemporary design world as distinct, fresh and seductive,” said Industry Gallery owner Craig Appelbaum. “His work is beautiful and impeccably crafted, with an intriguing hint of psychological tension.”
About the Designer
Chris Rucker grew up in a colonial‐era home in Mansfield Center, Connecticut. His father was an educational psychologist at the University of Connecticut in neighboring Storrs, and his mother was a kindergarten teacher. “Exposure to my father’s wood working shop and my mother’s quilt making skills, along with a family penchant for making instead of buying, provided a strong foundational interest in art and design,” said Rucker. In 1995 he received a BFA in sculpture at the University Connecticut (working with metal, rubber and sculptural ceramics), and in 1996 moved to New York. Though he had worked with OSB, it wasn’t until the winter of 2000, while a general contractor, that he started applying the material to finish surfaces (floors, walls, ceilings) and experimented with it constantly. In 2001 he made his first series of tables and chairs.
“It’s ironic that growing up surrounded by real material – wide beam floors, wood paneling and a stone heath – I always gravitate towards faux materials and materials made to imitate others. I was always intrigued by what was real and what was fake.”
Industry Gallery (www.industrygallerydc.com), is open Wednesday – Saturday, 11AM – 5PM, and by appointment.