international painting annual 4 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Paul Rutz
Portland, Oregon

detail image


I took a military/balletic route toward becoming a full-time figurative painter. I graduated from the Naval Academy in 2001, earned a master's degree eight months later, then served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kennedy. While in the Naval Reserve I danced ballet with a few small companies, using painting to examine the events and people I encountered. After working as a reporter/photographer for the Pentagon's press service, I went back to school to study imagery in American culture, completing a Ph.D. dissertation on art and the Iraq war in spring 2011.

I want to do my part to induce a state of unstable wonder about the unstable ways we see each other. Our hearts beat, lungs expand, and our eyes make continuous saccades, seeing not in single points of view, but in paths of attention that add memory and prediction to our sense of an unfolding now. How can painting reflect some of that?

There is no single point of view in this painting. I've measured everything at precisely life size yet tried to allow fluid paths of attention to rule here. In that way this is a documentary effort without photography. Studying Paleolithic cave paintings, imagining how a single moving torch created moving shadows as hands worked the walls, I've become invested in the pre-photographic rules by which those ancient people documented the things that occupied their minds. As hunters they saw mammoths and horses in the shadowed bumps of a cave wall. As a former ballet dancer, chess-playing Naval Officer, and hearty eater, I've pressed onto my working surface the stuff of my life, lit with a single moving lamp.

We're so used to photographs, and a photo's split-second sample of light through a single lens does a great job recording info about the sights we see as we chat, cry, and sing with other people, but it is far from the whole picture. My work invites viewers to renegotiate the rules by which we make pictures of each other. No picture is an exact repetition of our encounters, but as we act on our compulsions to get close, we should also practice making pictures in ways that question the iPhone-camera-Facebook idea that photos can remember our memorable events for us.


born: 1979, New Prague, Minnesota



Purdue University, PhD, 2011

George Mason University, MA, 2002

United States Naval Academy, BS, 2001


selected awards/honors

Au Naturel Solo Show and Workshop Award, Clatsop Community College, 2013

Winner, Oregon Division. Figure 50 National Showcase Competition, 2013


selected publications

Modern Fiction Studies; Issue 58.4. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press; Cover, 2012

Inkwell Magazine; 30th Issue. Purchase, New York: Manhattanville College; p. 40, 2011

So the Night Cannot Go on Without Us. By Brian Brodeur. Fox River Grove, Illinois: White Eagle Coffee Store Press, Cover, 2007.

So to Speak; Issue 14.2. Fairfax, Virginia: George Mason University; Cover, 4, 56-59, 80, 2005


selected solo or two-person exhibits

Two-person exhibit with sculptor Christopher B. Wagner, Guardino Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 2013

Athletic Measures, Clatsop Community College, Astoria, Oregon, 2013

The Measure of a Body, Cascade Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 2012

Women of Lafayette: Offstage, Still Dancing, Grant Fredericks Gallery, Lafayette, Indiana, 2010


selected group shows

Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century, Clatsop Community College, Astoria, Oregon, 2013

29th Annual Visual Arts Showcase,Beaverton Arts Commission, Beaverton, Oregon, 2011

Smithsonian Institution S. Dillon Ripley Center, Washington, District of Columbia, 2009

Ground Floor Gallery, Washington, District of Columbia, 2008



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