I paint moving bodies with you—the moving viewer—in mind. My pictures invite you to dance a little, stepping close to see the brushwork, back to enjoy the illusion, then to the side to see what’s hidden in folds of plywood or the glint of gold against the wall.
Paul X. Rutz is a painter and installation artist. Born and raised in rural Minnesota, he graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2001, serving on the aircraft carrier USS Kennedy (CV-67) until 2004. He wrote for the Pentagon’s press service before pursuing a doctorate in visual culture at Purdue University.
His 2011 dissertation on combat art from the Iraq war argued for a hybrid approach to understanding art, drawing on insights from among the humanities and hard sciences. He studied ballet for over a decade and began selling paintings of dancers while still in graduate school. After earning his PhD, he relocated to Portland, Oregon, and pursued a painting career.
Early exhibits included solo shows at the Oregon Military Museum and several academic galleries, as well as group shows at Mark Woolley Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution. His frequent collaborations include “Between Here and There,” a ceremony of return for combat veterans. In 2018 he studied under painter and printmaker Sigfrido Oliva in Italy, and he returned to Purdue for an artist residency in early 2020. As an art writer he has contributed to Huffington Post, Modern Fiction Studies, The Smart Set, and Cincinnati Review, among others.