I believe that a strong work of art must engage its viewer in two ways; it should say something about the world we live in, and it should say it in a way that makes one want to see it, that is absorbing and draws one in. It may offer more questions than answers. Maybe it is exciting or even beautiful to look at.
I find myself most taken by art that tells me something about the creator of the work, what they think and feel about something, how they look at the world, what perplexes them, and what they care about.
My work has many influences, ranging from that of the late Gothic and early Renaissance artists of northern Europe such as the Master H.L., Tilman Riemenschneider, and the Beham brothers, to more recent sculptors such as Emilio Greco, Pericle Fazzini, Hugo Robus, Leonard Baskin, and on and on and on. I don’t believe in denying my influences. I welcome them in, and hope that what emerges from within me is my own.
I love trees. My sculpture work is mostly in wood. Wood speaks to me. But I also like working in bronze, especially when the sculpture is placed out of doors, in nature. While my sculpture work takes the larger part of my time and energy, printmaking has become an important part of my creative work. Sometimes I find it easier to express what is in me on paper, other times it takes that extra dimension to more fully bring it across. Whatever it takes. I have found that for me, these two modes of expression balance each other very nicely.
While my work is figurative, I strive to make it work on the abstract level. Form, volume, balance, surface tension and texture all come into play and in the end, have a great deal to do with a piece’s failure or success. I’ve always been drawn to the figure, both animal and human animal. Much of my work involves a combination of the two . Myths interest me a great deal, particularly those cultural and religious stories which have shaped our world, not always in positive ways. I may give them a tweak or a twist, to cast a new light on the subject. But while I enjoy this idea play, I don’t see my work as intellectual. I’m more concerned with feelings and gut level emotions. It is about what moves me.
"Shelter" in the making
"Shelter" was first conceptualized seventeen years ago. Russell brought the piece to fruition after working daily for the past nine months. This slide show doesn't begin to do the process justice, but we hope it will give the viewer some insight into the creation of this magnificent work of art.