Jon received his PhD in developmental genetics from UC Berkeley and UC Davis, while his sculptures have been exhibited in many national venues including the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum and The National Academy of Design. His work is in over 800 public and private collections, and in 2000 Jon was selected by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY, as one of the 50 most influential contemporary wildlife artists in the world.
Jon works in lost-wax-cast bronze and occasionally in wood, silver, ivory or stone and also produces etchings. His limited edition bronzes are on a personal scale that people can easily live with. “I love the craft as well as the art of sculpting. I make the production molds and do all the finish work that determines the final surface of my castings, including my own signature patina. Every effort goes into producing the finest sculpture possible, from the first inspiration to the final polish.”
Command of the casting and mold-making processes allows Jon the freedom to tackle technically challenging pieces. He has developed a technique that directly produces a hollow wax, quickly capturing subtle nuances of form and movement while avoiding the need for armatures. Since the production waxes for casting bronze editions are hollow, these original models can be cast directly to produce unique sculptures. Working in wax also allows more complex and crisp details in the final piece than are possible working in clay. The properties of wax are very similar to metal ensuring that the final bronze takes full advantage of the medium
For the last eleven years Jon has taught advanced college courses like Developmental Biology, Neurobiolgy and 3D Art in Wax and Bronze to underrepresented high school students at the nationally recognized U of Arkansas School of Math, Science and Art. After 17 years at UC Davis and the U of Central Arkansas he has more enthusiastic and determined students at ASMSA than in the university setting. “The best description of my ASMSA students is that 'they don’t know they can’t do it' and my job is to make sure they never decide differently. A chance to make a difference in the lives of young people gives me the best of both academic and artistic worlds.”
Click on the images below to view Jon Ruehle's artwork available for sale at this year's show.
Rags to Riches
On Thin Ice
Art and science merge in the bronze wildlife sculptures of Jon Ruehle. "Art lets me bring my understanding of animal behavior, how life lives by shape and the bond I feel with all life to a wide audience. I am particularly interested in depicting the habitat of my subjects and exploring the textures of fur, wood, stone and water.” Two favorite comments about his work are that they capture the subject so well, if you look away, they'll move; and that these are the sculptures the animals would collect themselves. Once his English Setter was caught pointing his quail sculpture.
Rags to Riches
Caribou are such unique animals from their magnificent headgear to their snowshoe hooves and unique gait. These traits all came together as a sculpture design when I saw a big male stripping the ragged velvet from his antlers with his hind foot, going from Rags to Riches right in front of me. I particularly like the subtle balance in the pose that is both awkward and elegant, worthy of these wonderful critters.
On Thin Ice
The relationship between animals and their habitat is the key to their survival. Nature can be unforgiving, and what may have looked like a convenient shortcut has put this red fox On Thin Ice. Water is a particularly interesting subject to me; and working in wax, which can be both liquid and frozen solid, is the perfect medium to depict broken ice. The fox’s claws gripping the ice with his strained expression and wet fur complete the image.