Brush Stroke Series

A move from a modest home in a quaint village to a residence in the country has allowed me to greatly expand my studio space and revisit large-format oil on canvas paintings. At the same time, I decided to pare down what I had produced as an artist for the past four decades and recently started to explore the notion of the brushstroke in its application, directness, historical context, and metaphorical interpretations. Inspiration was taken from mid-twentieth century artists such as Joan Mitchell and Willem de Kooning as well as contemporary artists such as Lee Ufan and Stanley Whitney. 

The series began by exploring the straight brush stroke and soon a second series followed which examines the curved brush stroke. The at first fully abstracted pictures are constructed by dynamic and complex patterning of multi-colored brush strokes and then imbued with tangible meaning by the influences (New York City, the American muscle car, etc.) that emerge in their titles. The canvases are prepared by coating the top portions with high flow acrylic that is allowed to drip down to the bottom edge creating a visually charged surface and offering a nod to artists such as Pat Steir and Matthew Satz for whom the drip is an integral part of their work. The painting process is then simplified by adding multiple strokes of a single color during each studio session. Lastly, the smaller works on paper which accompany the larger pieces, are produced by using the residual paint from each session. 

David Rufo

December 2022 

Mandala-Based Series

The Mandala-based paintings are informed by the hyper-kinetic shifts of the Op Art movement and viscous psychedelic imagery that permeated the visual landscape of my childhood in the sixties and seventies.

Parabolic spiral dot patterns are meticulously painted on an amorphous color field where vivid hues with intricate concentric elements dominate the compositions. I also make use of items such as frisket film, commercial stencils, and flat washers to create a variety of masking effects. This added layer generates a perceptual dissonance brought on by a narrow depth of field and shapes that seemingly float on the surface, when in actuality, they are brought about by unpainted portions of the background paper or canvas.

I am interested in making a body of work that appears cool and detached, but upon closer inspection is revealed to be imperfect, vulnerable, and wholly human.

David Rufo


French Curve Series

The French Curve painting series began after I discovered an antique French curve in a desk drawer of my late father.  

First concentric circle patterns were drawn by tracing large platters, plates, bowls, and drafting templates. Portions of the design were masked and a monotone color field was applied. French curves were used to draw intricate patterns which were then filled in with watercolor. 

David Rufo

January 2015

Text-Based Series

The text-based painting series began as a way to examine the act of reading after years of philosophical discussions surrounding various language arts pedagogies in elementary classrooms. As an elementary general classroom teacher I felt my students learned best when literature was presented as works of art rather than simply systems to be decoded and sequentially comprehended.

Antique 72-point letterpress was used to reproduce passages from classic children’s literature. Color was then added using watercolor, acrylic, and in some instances, Testor’s enamel model paint. 

Elements that direct the reading of the texts, such as punctuation and capitalization, were removed which created new post modern "readings" of the passages.

David Rufo

August 2012