Artist: Andre Ritter
Exhibition: Fuse: Join to Form A Single Entity
Media: Metal, Steel, Aluminum
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist:
Andre Ritter is an artist who recently graduated here at California State University Long Beach with a BFA in Metals. A little bit about Andre: he has been working with metal for many years now. He discovered his passion for this medium of art long before he returned to college, during his years working for a company that re-purposes old materials by combining them into a new product. He loves working with metals because they can survive the test of time, therefore allowing his art to be viewed by others long after many generations have passed. Andre is currently working to bring an art program at Prisk Elementary School in collaboration with CSULB graduate students so that children can begin learning the beauty of art.
Believe it or not, this is actually a hat, Andre has even worn it a couple of times. Anyways, this piece is made out of leather, foam, feathers and, of course, metal. Although it is not visible, there is a layer of foam just behind the leather crown in order to make the hat more comfortable to wear. As for the vibrant feathers, Andre used different shades of green and blue and also trimmed the pointy edges in order to avoid any punctures and put them in place using hot glue. He was able to achieve the smooth designs around the metal pins surrounding the hat through a process known as annealing, or the heating of metal to such a degree where it becomes soft and easy to manipulate, carve, or cut.
Andre’s pieces are usually made through the combination of many different things some may see as junk and yet he is able to craft a work of art out of it. This style of art sends us a message that everything around us has value, though it may take a fresh eye or different perspective to see it. The artist is also exploring a theme that a combination of these things, which are seen as old and unimportant on their own, can come together to form something new and beautiful.
Synthesis / My Experience
For me, this piece brings together two aesthetically different things that begin to show something in common when placed together. That is, I see images of exotic birds of paradise, the colorful and attractive plumage, mixed in with the abandoned metal and rust of a city. They are on the complete opposites of the scale, one being naturally primitive and the other synthetically post-apocalyptic, but both give off the idea of “survival of the fittest”. It resonates with my fascination with post-apocalyptic narratives, and I find it interesting that a genre that is usually presented as dark and rotting can be so vibrant and lively.