Doug Russell is a visual artist who lives and works in Laramie, Wyoming. His work has been exhibited in solo shows at the Missoula Art Museum, the Leedy Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His work has also been shown in numerous group exhibitions including The Architecture of an Idea at the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art, Evidence and Residues: An Investigation of Contemporary Drawing at Indiana State University, and three International Drawing Annuals (INDA) published through Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Art at the University of Wyoming where is coordinator of the drawing program.
In my work I explore and contemplate the inevitable effect of time upon human aspirations. I build improvised and invented realities born out of my love of direct observational drawing and architectural form. The imagery and process express the cycle of human construction and natural decay in the tradition of the architectural capriccio. Often individual architectural forms are piled on top of each other in multiple layers growing like impossible cities – living and dying, expanding and disappearing. The genesis of this work occurred while living in Turkey – where in a dense and layered landscape I saw an overwhelming and immense wealth of ruin and renewal. Following two large solo exhibitions of my large architectural drawings, my studio practice moved into a period of creative rebuilding and reflection. Early in 2015 I spent a month in Cambodia exploring the ruins of the Angkor Wat and other Khmer sites. In May 2015 I returned to Turkey to visit various Greek and Roman ruins, tombs carved into rock cliffs, and ancient multi-story underground cities. In my studio I have focused on building an ever evolving and enlarging architectural model entitled Styropolis – constructed from discarded materials (primarily Styrofoam). By recreating the illusion of ruin within my studio I internalize and bring home my experiences of actual sites around the world. This improvised architectural folly then acts as inspiration and source material (along with travel drawings done on site, audio field recordings, and thousands of photographs) for my current drawings. When I am among these ruins I experience a timeless meditative stillness – a sense that human ambition and desire has passed them (and me) by – leaving a profound and lasting silence. In this silence I sense both an eternal evolution and an eternal stillness – a kind of persistent residue of ceaseless change.