The core of Rudy's creation comes from his ability to "let the ideas speak." Rudy conceives of his calling as an artist as a means of presenting ideas, giving them form and shape. Rather than Rudy himself dominating the process, the conceptual has predominance. The abstract persists and Rudy, as a sculptor, acts as a vehicle to communicate and give these ideas form, to let them arise.
He has evolved from steel sculpture in the 1970s. Today, Rudy is known for his nude bronze figures that reflect the tension between creating abstract and figurative work. "Illuminada," first completed in 2000, was the first figurative sculpture that was not necessarily nude, not necessarily clothed. WORK IN PROCESS UPDATE: Watch the progress on the NEW, LARGE SCALE "Illuminada." Press the › arrow to start the Quicktime Movie (right). This piece has a vertical flow embodying the spirit of mother earth and the celebration of natural beauty within us and surrounding all of us.
Taking part in a Santa Fe figure drawing group, led by local artist Eli Levin, his drawing and bronze have joined together to create more figurative work. While his sculpture celebrates the energy and power of being alive, as an individual and as a community, it can also show strength even in death - as seen in the powerful "Cabeza de Fiero," open steel head with horns [commissioned by Vanessie of Santa Fe].
Rudy also understands that the personal feeling and complete creative guidance he gives to each piece (as described in the Process below), is also appreciated by those who collect his work. As such, he will place severe restrictions on the quantity produced so that his collectors can feel as special about the piece as he does.
When meeting Rudy for the first time, clients are typically taken back by the peace and gentleness of the man in contrast to the power and complexity of his work. A native New Mexican, Rudy Gonzales was raised in Santa Fe. Student, teacher, craftsman, artist, Rudy’s life has taken him down many roads guided by his desire to participate fully in all aspects of life. As in life, Rudy values the process of creating a piece and assisting with the manifestation. Rudy’s uncle, Eulogio, was an early mentor who encouraged mindfulness, and instilled a process-oriented patience in his nephew.
Rudy began his formal study of art at Highlands University in Northern New Mexico receiving his undergraduate degree with a double major in Art. He then continued at Highland’s with a teaching assistance-ship and his Masters Degree in Art. Harry Leippe, professor of Sculpture, later became his mentor. Leippe was not overly focused on teaching technique as much as guiding the student to work well to highlight the value of the work itself.
After finishing his work at Highland’s University, Rudy lived and worked in California as an Art Instructor at both College and High School, returning to the youth the gifts that he had received as a student. While on the west coast, he was represented by galleries in Morgan Hill, California. He returned to Santa Fe in the 1970’s and started showing with Ron Robles’ Gallery and Ernesto Mayans in the early 1980's. Today, Rudy is represented by Darnell Fine Art in Santa Fe.
Santa Fe is known throughout the U.S. as one of the premier and most competitive art centers in the country. Rudy has garnered respect for his work not only outside of the community but also, just as importantly, from inside the Santa Fe community.
Rudy's first privately commissioned works was ordered by "Vanessie," a popular local piano lounge, where "Cabeza de Fiero," completed in 1984, can be seen over the fireplace.
The ProcessFrom Art Teacher to Master Plumber to Sculptor for over 30 years, Rudy has mastered a unique blend of skills enabling him to take part in the whole creation: metal working, foundry and metal chemistry. Rudy starts organically from the clay which he makes himself, without preliminary sketches or drawings. He then creates small maquettes, which will eventually become larger works in bronze.
Rudy is part of the full life-giving cycle of a bronze piece from idea, to his clay, molds and wax, and completing the finishing process including the creation of the base. He often supervises and participates in the foundry process. An important part of spirit of the work involves coloring or patina which he always personally creates and, at times, to the specifications of the client.
Selected Collections & Commissions
Commissioned pieces in steel and bronze are being created from Rudy's studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico and are finding their way into private collections throughout the U.S.
Important Exhibits2004 Contemporary Hispanic Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Panel of jurors
New Mexico Fiesta – Biennial Exhibitions Museum of New Mexico Morris Graves, Juror
11th Annual St. Jude Show
University of Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
Peter Volkos, Juror
Art Exhibit – Santa Clara, CA
John Hunter, Juror
New Mexico Fine Arts Biennial
Museum of New Mexico
Goldthwaite Higginson Door, III and Lewis Story, Jurors
One Man Show
One Man Show
New Mexico Highlands University
Las Vegas, New Mexico
Southwest Fine Arts Biennial