Christopher Russell employs photography, drawing, writing, bookmaking, and digital printmaking to create all-encompassing environments that challenge the traditional divide between these practices and expand the very idea of a book. In "Runaway", he continues his explorations of the darker side of the human psyche, using photographs as a drawing surface and negotiating Romanticism within the post-modern frame of mechanical reproduction. Russell's latest fictional text is brought into the gallery through images of ships, trees and wallpaper that relate to longing for and domestication of new experiences--an unending desire for the unattainable. Russell likens childhood fantasies of running away to ideas of avant-garde utopias and horror movies in the disquieting calm for which he has become known. In Russell's world, monsters are stable, cataloged entities, aesthetes are found wandering the roadside, and the apocalypse offers the greatest personal hope.
The exhibition will include several large-scale, multiple-panel photo murals and installations of framed photographs onto whose surface the artist has scratched, or "etched", intricate drawings and patterns. The process involves using a sharp stylus to remove the top image-layer of the print, revealing the soft white paper pulp underneath. In some works Russell also slashes the surface and employs metallic spray paint. In addition, among the centerpieces of the booth will be the hand-bound tome of Runaway, whose pages measure 18 x 24 inches. This unique, one-of-a-kind book combines 30 original images, hand-illustrated and scripted by the artist. In conjunction with this project, the Gallery has published a 72-page catalog of this work, including complete text and illustrations, with an essay by Mathew Timmons.