A Brief Essay
The Expertise of Rudy
Rotter from Early to Late Period
by Randy Rotter
Premise: Rudy Rotter’s artwork, over 45 years, remained thematically
consistent, highly skilled, and artistically sophisticated despite a radical
change in materials and style over time.
Rudy’s Late Period (1990-2001): Below
is a late
period unsigned work (c. 1998 - 6.5 x 16 in.) drawn with
magic markers on wallpaper sample, mounted on cardboard. Further below is a teak bas relief from Rudy’s early period. The purpose
of comparing these two works is to show the consistency of
theme, design, expression and artistic expertise.
Reclining Couple – c. 1998
What makes this drawing a sophisticated work?
This piece is composed of a very limited number of line strokes. The faces and figures expertly express a beatific serenity. The man’s
head rest softly on his arm. The woman’s breast falls naturally, while her
slightly bent hand gently touches the exact center of the "bed”. Her toes contact
her lover’s face as the two figures blend into one entity. The dynamic positioning
of the figures within the frame provides the viewer with a honed focus.
The execution of this work speaks to the expertise and vision of the
The piece was created in two stages. First, the wallpaper
sample was prepped with a curved stroke, and then a heavy black border was
added. Next the artist stepped back, looked at his “canvas”, saw the image within
the drawn framework, and proceeded to quickly and confidently complete the
piece with an expert efficiency of line.
Rudy’s Early Period (1960 – late 1980): For the
sake of brevity, this teak bas relief (c. 1985 – 8 x 18 in.) is from the
period when Rudy had hit his stride within the medium. Both the crafted
expertise and the sophisticated composition evidence the highly developed skill
of this artist. However, it is the beauty, uniqueness, and emotional depth of
the artwork, plus the attributable signature style of the artist, that makes
this piece an excellent work of art.
Embracing Couple – c. 1985
Viewing these two artworks, one traditional in style and the
other on a contemporary edge, shows the consistency of Rudy’s artwork over decades of
Outsider Art as Traditional Art: This self-taught
outsider art also should be seen within a broader context as part of the
historical pictorial use of reclining figures in Western art.
To be a bit presumptuous -- but also I believe accurate
intent and effect (albeit without the nature metaphor) shared by Giorgione's painting
(created 1510) and Rudy Rotter’s reclining figures are very much the
Giorgione - Sleeping Venus
The sense of tranquility, humanity, and beauty is clear in
both. Giorgione’s nude work interestingly was a radical depiction during his
time, while the style of Rudy’s art reflects the freedom brought forth in the
recent modernist period.
Conclusion: While so
much more can be said about Rotter’s art, hopefully this brief introduction
reader to look closely at the art of Rudy Rotter and partake in its