My work is my contact with the world outside of the context of my insular life. I have sculpted and drawn as long as I can remember, but I had no role models, no mentors for fine art. Portland, Oregon, where I was born and raised, was a very segregated, place. I am African American, raised by political activists, who fought the freedom wars, all of their lives. Expressive fine art was and is always living in my mind and at times, in surges of effort, I produced quantities of work and just as suddenly, I would deny my creative self and with admitted anger, stop.
I did not sculpt or paint for over 20 years, returning to myself in 1995. I am older now, and hopefully wiser. I know that art is me and I am art. I know that it is something I can do without feeling outside of life.
My early work was often angry, resentful and filled with darkness. I am currently producing work that offers expressions of my multi-cultural heritage without the anger getting in the way of the work….My focus is still outside the perfect view, elicited perhaps by being self-taught and viewing the work through cultural eyes.
Working in wood affords peace and a spiritual depth. My work in wire, plaster and found objects allows expansion of expression with materials and styles. Drawing and painting affords me the opportunity to document my worlds.
I am still an emerging artist by all definitions of the words.
WILLIAM (BILL) RUTHERFORD
University of Oregon, School of Architecture
Portland State University, Animation
Chinook Mask Show, solo, Gallery of Fort Vancouver, April 2015
Sculpture Show, solo, Geezer Gallery, Portland, OR, August 2014
Group Shows, Broderick Gallery, Portland, OR, 2009, 2010
Solo Painting Show, Broderick Gallery, Portland, OR, February 2007
International Sculpture Show, Peace Arch Park, Blaine, WA, May–Oct 2006
Group Mask Exhibit, Kahn Gallery, Portland, OR, October, 2005
Represented by 3 galleries in Portland: Greystone, Shades of Color, and IFCC,
for 30 years.