Ron Longsdorf with his family in front of A Sense of Home, 2018, installed at the Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah, GA

Concrete block, plywood, construction materials and dug earth are memories from my early childhood. My father, uncle, and grandfather build the house I grew up in. Those early experiences of seeing raw materials for what they were, and the process of building eventually became a main theme and metaphor for my work.

I am originally from Greensburg, PA (35 miles east of Pittsburgh, PA). This is the place of those early memories. I went to college at Penn State University and graduate school at the University of Delaware. After a BFA and MFA in Sculpture I eventually ended up teaching foundations design courses in Delaware and Pennsylvania and now currently reside in Savannah, GA (since 2016), teaching at Savannah College of Art & Design.

I regularly come back to basic construction materials and often expose and show those materials for what they are. I’ll alter furniture and domestic objects with building materials. Sometimes use photography, audio, video, or light in combination with these works. The works range in scale from small wall works, discrete objects to large scale installations.

6 square inches of home’ included in Small Works at Main Street Arts

At several points over the past ten years, I keep coming back to the idea of painting. As someone trained in sculpture how can I solve painting? I developed a series of laminated wall hanging works that work as paintings. The materials include drywall, wood, and polystyrene insulation. The edges are exposed outward toward the viewer rather than the main surface of a panel. One of the most recent pieces is 6 square inches of home (2021). These works are meant to be more abstract and focus directly on the material.

Our energy and our structure merged’ in the studio with 6 square inches of home in the background

Most of my sculptural work uses more representational references in a new altered visual. I often alter objects or recreate them. In one instance, with Our energy and our structure merged (2021) I use the visual of a coffee press as if it were constructed like the timber frame of a house. This piece becomes a combined portrait of my wife and I (her love of coffee and my interest in the construction metaphor for building our lives together. In another instance, We have our ups and downs (2021) shows an altered kitchen chair extended taller with table legs and laminated polystyrene and wood to create a slide. There is a playfulness that combines the childhood experience of how my son experiences the world with the sturdy stability of a chair or table as the parent figure.

We have our ups and downs

For the past 15 years I keep arriving back at various aspects of home, our daily lives and our relationships that develop in and around these common spaces and objects. For the past 9 years, as a husband and father, many of my ideas dance around memory, play, and growing up. I see the world and spaces now beyond my perspective, memories, and development, into how my family grows, changes, and develops together.

Ron Longsdorf working in the studio

See more of my work at www.ronlongsdorf.com

Small Works 2021 includes 215 works of art by 136 artists from 28 state and runs through Thursday, December 23, 2021.

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