Original and Facsimile Paintings. 

 

The paintings in this exhibit are labeled either “original” or “facsimile”. In most cases “original” paintings are being shown, while in others I have made copies for this exhibit of work that is not currently available. For example, “Poolside-1970” is a 2019 facsimile of a larger painting that is in a private collection. It is a direct painted “copy” that I have made from a photograph of the original work.

 

 

High School Years: The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut.

 

This is a selection of original and Facsimile Paintings from 1965-67.

 

 

 

 

 

Discovering art when I was in school.

I grew up in the suburban town of Rye, New York, about 30 miles north of Grand Central Station. I went to a school much like Packer through eighth grade and then I went to a boarding school named Taft. 

 

Up until the 10th grade, I was a student who had numerous academic difficulties. Then, half way through my 10th grade year, I took an art class with a teaching artist named Mark Potter. When I started the class, I had no idea that this class would initiate a pivotal change in my life. 

Potter taught oil painting, and I felt immense excitement and joy at being able to make an image emerge from the surface. I soon learned that painting provided a reflection of my emotions. With oil paints, I could push and pull, buildup and tear down the surface, and then start over, discovering that the process was as important as the outcome. Oil painting became a synesthetic experience that completely absorbed me. 

 

During my junior year I created my first large work,“Tree Path”, the original of which is in the exhibit.

The image is imaginary, inspired from my long summers in Vermont as a child. The tall grass recounts the meadows where I would lie down and hide, looking at the sky and smelling the warm aroma of hay. When Potter saw the image, he exclaimed, “Rush, you’re an artist!” It seems remarkable that these few affirmative words by my teacher would set the course I would then follow for life.

 

By my senior year, Potter had introduced me to the work of the iconic American artists Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth. I still have a vivid memory of first seeing these artists’ works in person at the Whitney Museum when I was 17. That year, I developed the iconography of the gabled house sitting by a road in a lonely landscape. This set the rubric from which I have worked for the past 50 years. I continued to explore and reconfigure this early image. It’s meaning and symbolism have largely eluded me for 50 years. The house seems to be a generalized experience or memory which I feel compelled to explore again and again. My hope is that each person who views the painting will fill the house and the landscape with their own interpretation.

 

 

 

ART SCHOOL, 1967-71; I went to Syracuse University School of Fine Arts and the John Cass College of Art, London. After the rigors and academic miscues of high school, going to an art school was a revelation. I was encouraged to work nonstop without interference. I even discovered an academic interest in art history and aesthetic philosophy. I was exposed to the exciting developments of major current movements like Pop Art, New Realism, and Minimalism. I saw my first David Hockney show and he became my new Hopper. 

 

In art school, I explored new imagery, much in a pop vernacular related to my suburban upbringing. Swimming pools and highways replaced lonely farmhouses and roads. Art school allowed me to play with ideas and materials with a freedom I never knew existed. Art school also strengthened my attachment to painting, printmaking, drawing and the scholarly pursuit of art history.

 

Brooklyn and Vermont: 1971-2020

Throughout my career, my work as an artist has developed into two interrelated directions which correspond to the locations where I live and feel most connected: Brooklyn and Vermont.

Within the vernacular of these locations my work can be broken into different approaches. 

 

The first approach is to create site-specific “factual” paintings. These are created on location using the “en plein air” method; that is, reinterpreting what I see in front of me onto a flat surface. For me, this process means working directly from a site, but may also include working from photographs or drawings back in the studio.

 

 

The second approach is to create work from memory and imagination. These paintings are more conceptually based and evolve in an intuitive fashion. Many of these works repeat the same motifs of my high school paintings---the house and road recur repeatedly in these landscapes. My goals with these works is to use the abstract and formal elements of art as a vehicle for creating a kind of emotional verisimilitude. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children’s Book Work: 1991-96

 

I was fortunate to have a section of my career involved in children’s book work. This work was inspired by my wife, Packer Lower School librarian, Chris Rush! 

 

All of the books are fictionalized stories from actual people or situations that I am close to.

 

 

 

SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE (1992)Authored by Kurt Aldag (P01)and Illustrated by Ken Rush (P01, 03). This is a story inspired by a small Vermont town garage.

 

This title can be purchased signed through Krush1948@gmail.com

 

 

 

THE SELTZER MAN (1993) is about our actual Seltzerman, Eli Miller. It is placed in a fictional tale with our two daughters, Ann and Beth going on Eli’s “last seltzer delivery”. Eli did finally retire at the age of 83 in 2014.

 

This title can be purchased signed through Krush1948@gmail.com

 

 

 

FRIDAY’S JOURNEY (1994is a story related to a divorced dad and a son, and is based on my weekends with my son’s George and Andrew from my first marriage.

 

This title can be purchased signed through Krush1948@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

WHAT ABOUT EMMA (1996) is based on the disappearance of family farms in Vermont. I used our Vermont neighbor’s farm and 

Brown Swiss cow, Emma, as the subject.

 

Out of print.

 

 

 

 

Small Sky and Subway Paintings, 2019

 

I often create small paintings in series. All of these are imaginary, but the skies and subways each use their own template. After underpainting the basic forms, I like to gradually enrich the spatial effect through the use of thin oil glazes.