by Ryan Stoute
Trafford Publishing

At first glance, Stoute's art is clearly a cohesive collection. The ink and crayon drawings reveal a progression from geometric and amorphous abstractions to surreal images of severed legs and feet among rainbows. The palette used in each piece complements and contrasts previous pieces. Furthermore, the images of a leg, foot, and rainbow emerge as motifs, repeated in single pieces and throughout the span of several pieces. A closer look reveals a stronger connection between the images, as the title, Subsequent, suggests. Without any text to accompany the images, this takes on greater significance, and the design behind the collection surfaces. The individual pieces of artwork sequentially, as first with many legs and then with a single leg, reach a destination—a final piece that reveals an evolution of sorts.

Stoute's choice of media (crayon and ink) evoke childhood and simplicity, which provides an interesting contrast to the isolation and futility implied by the severed legs. The first few pieces in the collection are largely non-representational and abstract, but slowly build in complexity. As the inverted rainbows and legs emerge, so too does the basis for this surreal and fictional setting where the human body is incomplete. Single legs seem to float disconnected and without the capacity for directed locomotion. This sense of alienation and senselessness is amplified in the latter pieces as a single leg leaves the place where many limbs congregate near rainbows. These pieces, in which a single leg is suspended over various barren landscapes, build in intensity, providing the collection with an unexpected crescendo and the distinction of functioning not just as the sum of its parts, but a strangely moving narrative.

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