My work illustrates the beauty of man in his natural state: bearded and masculine, strong and vulnerable, magnetic, Apollonian.
The paintings are executed on finely-crafted, custom-built wood panels. Historically a male skill fostered through guilds, woodworking was passed from one generation of carpenters to the next, from fathers to sons. Reflecting this tradition, the panels are hard and strong, beautiful like the images of men that they hold.
The creation of the work has been, in part, a collaborative effort on the part of the painter, the woodworker and the models.
The models: The images were almost solely taken from “selfies” chosen by artist and subject from a collection of photos each man uses to portray himself.
The woodworker: An incredibly skilled craftsman who takes great pride in his work. He has worked with me to ensure that the grain and type of wood are perfectly paired and finished for each individual piece.
And finally the painter: bringing the refined craftsmanship of the woodworker, the hard refined beauty of the wood, and the beauty of the model together in the finished work.
Travis Ridlehuber was the curator of This Swarthy Face, inspired by Walt Whitman’s celebrated poem. Six up-and-coming portraitists were presented in the God and Monsters Gallery at San Francisco’s The Midway from July 15 through August 27, 2016. More information here.
Travis Ridlehuber was encouraged in his artistic endeavors at an early age, through many private drawing and painting classes. Having taught for over a decade, he chose to leave the classroom in midlife and return to school to pursue his passion for the visual arts. While studying oil painting at the University of New Mexico, he began photographing his models and developed a love for photography that continues to inform his creative process. Having grown up in the rolling hill country of central Texas, and lived, hiked, and camped his way through Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Oregon, his appreciation for the outdoorsman and the unadorned male figure is apparent in his current works.
Magnet Gallery | August 2015
This Swarthy Face
The Midway Gallery | July 2016