The career of dynamic Australian artist Craig Ruddy is a reflection of his art: immediate. He was 34 when he started painting full time. Two years later, he was an Archibald prize-winner, for his searing charcoal portrait of Indigenous actor David Gulpilil. Likewise, Ruddy’s dark and brooding paintings waste no time in declaring themselves. And their immediacy does not lose impact over time.
Though not exclusively a portrait artist, Ruddy has made a name for himself painting Indigenous personalities; as well as Gulpilil, he has also painted Olympic athlete Cathy Freeman and film director Warwick Thornton. Ruddy has offset these high profile portraits by undertaking an exploration in his recent work of our connection with the landscape. The nondescript figures moving through the landscape in Dawn Embrace and Nocturnal Flower – handmade multi-plate coloured etchings by Ruddy – illustrate this infinite cycle of rejuvenation.
Renowned both locally and overseas, Ruddy has an ability to create passionate works that are simultaneously aesthetically-driven and thought-provoking.