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 Helen E. Copeland Gallery in Bozeman, MT, 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. His work is in several permanent collections, including The Museum for Architectural Drawing in Berlin. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Art at the University of Wyoming where he is coordinator of the drawing program.
I build improvised and invented realities born out of my love of direct observational drawing and architectural form. The imagery and process express the perpetual 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, collapsing, and disappearing. The genesis of this work occurred while living in Turkey twenty years ago – where in a dense and layered landscape I saw an overwhelming and immense wealth of ruin and renewal. My current bodies of work reflect my recent travels in Cambodia, Turkey, and Indonesia exploring the ruins of Angkor Wat, Greek and Roman cities, Lycian tombs carved into rock cliffs, ancient multi-story underground cities, and numerous Hindu and Buddhist temples. My studio time also includes 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, audio field recordings, and thousands of photographs). The drawings and stereoscopic photographs that evolve out of these journeys inside and outside my studio are an examination of these basic truths: we dismantle the past to reconstruct our future; all that is came from something else; all that is now will in turn become something new.