I began making sculpture as therapy for chronic pain. During my studies at the University of Colorado and at the Chicago Art Institute, therapy became a full fledged artistic practice. Traumatized from living under military dictatorships in Paraguay and Chile, I suffered form chronic headaches and severe PTSD symptoms for seven years. I was saved from this existential hell by acupuncture. My artistic practice has focused and explored existential suffering, totalitarianism, political correctness, public art, cowboy art, to making sculptures with flame effects for Burning Man
As a high school exchange student from Colorado, I lived under the military dictatorship of Stroessner in Paraguay and Pinochet in Chile. My first hand experiences of military dictatorship transformed me from someone who wanted to enlist into the military into an anti-war activist. I was severely traumatized by experiences in Paraguay. This left me with a chronic headache for seven years. The low point was feeling numb from the neck down with debilitating chronic headaches, chronic anxiety and chronic longings for death to release me. The blood vessels to my brain were dilated filling my head with excessive blood. Smaller to larger nerves in my body were shutting down and turning off. I was told after week of hospitalization that my condition could not be controlled with medication and that my condition was terminal. I was told I only had a few yers left to live. Finally, I found relief and healing from acupuncture. I was resigned to terminal illness, then out of the blue, I was saved. Acupuncture reversed the process and my nerves began turning back on and the headaches finally began to let up then finally stopped all together.
After years of unsuccessful medical treatment, I began making sculpture as therapy to deal with my chronic pain and anxiety that doctors could not treat. I understand the condition now as severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have never been officially diagnosed with PTSD, my condition was regarded as much more severe and was never given a name. Doctors called it ‘a progressively degenerative neurological disorder.’ My art works from 1985 to 1992 were made in the spirit of therapeutic discovery that developed into a full fledged artistic practice.
For my Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition in Sculpture, at the University of Colorado in Boulder, I lampooned the far right with a satirical work. “A Burning Dilemma Video Sculpture,” 1992 is a multimedia robot built out of an ancient washing machine, a cast aluminum Buddha like torso with a tv built into its chest. The video uses bombastic political imagery as anti-right wing propaganda to make a point against brain washing and the manufacturing of consent.
At the Art Institute of Chicago, I pursued my Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture. Originally, I intended to further explore the issues of military dictatorship but I changed my path. During the height of academic political correctness and my response to it was to make the “La Mano Poderosa Series” 1990-1991 sculptural satire lampooning the dictatorship of false liberal virtue then reigning in academia. In my MFA exhibition piece I satirically demanded that I be expelled based on the politically correct agenda. Instead, the piece was show cased at my graduation and I was honored.
“Thermodynamic Conservation,” 1997 was made in Chicago & Mexico City in collaboration with Carmen Mariscal. In this multimedia installation we explored the out of body experiences we had both experienced as result of terrible physical pain forcing our spirits to briefly leave and then return to our bodies. The piece, wildly popular with the Mexican public, won the “National Prize for Installation Art in Mexico” 1997. It was featured on MTV in Mexico.
“The Rodeo Series,” 1999-2000 evolved from teaching myself to ride saddle broncs in using slow motion video. This series was my effort to re-invent moribund Western art with computer video technology. With my video projections of slow motion video on rawhide screens I sought to evoke ancient cave painting with modern technology. And with my video still images on canvas I sought to break some molds. These works were shown at the Aspen Art Museum, the University of Wyoming Art Museum, The Museum of the American Cowboy, and in many exhibitions including the Coors Western Art show in Aspen, Austin, Colorado Springs, Denver, Laramie and New York City.
“The Indian Wars of Palestine,” 2003 was a result of my response to the shocking attack on NYC on 9-11-2001. Wanting to understand Muslim rage against the West, I investigated what was going on in Israel. I made a personal pilgrimage to Israel/Palestine. The more I’ve investigated, read, witnessed a parallel emerged, i.e. the parallel histories of Native American Indians and Palestinian people. I saw similar native peoples driven off their ancestral land by settlers who justified ethnic cleansing with the name of their religion. In my collaborative exhibition full rawhide skins have been impregnated with video and photographic images of atrocities. The historical allusion is to the buffalo hide painting of the Plains Indians that artistically documented their battles.
Public Art at the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada became my next focus. I worked on Nick DeWolf’s “Ma’am: The Mammoth,” 2003-2009. It’s a life sized, human powered, mammoth skeleton vehicle. “Zarafa: The Burning Giraffe,” 2009 was shown at that year at Burning Man. It’s a large steel sculpture I repurposed with custom made flame effects. My most recent mutant vehicle is “The Triceratank,” 2010-2012. Exhibited at Burning Man three times, it is a sculptural Triceratops dinosaur built out of steel and rawhide concealing an old jeep. It has three custom made flame effects in each of its three horns. The flame effects have hand forged steel whistles built into them that scream and shriek when the pressurized propane is released for flame throwing. The howling flames can shoot 15-20 feet in the air.
Since 2014, I’ve focused on making beautiful things out of wood on my remote property on the edge of the Snowy Range Mountains west of Laramie, Wyoming. There I cut down beetle killed ponderosa pines. Then on my portable sawmill I cut them into planks. On site, in my workshop, I have them made into tables, paneling and counter tops. These items have been used in my historic building renovations in Wyoming, Colorado and New York. I designed and built a 2500 square foot post and beam barn out of my trees. The barn serves as the studio workshop for my company Rafter Six Woodworks.
What in the works? I am currently planning and developing plans for public art projects. One addresses Climate Change and the other Gun Violence. Stay tuned.
Artist Ciriculum Vitae
AMERICAN, BORN 1963
1997 Post-master’s degree studies: Contemporary Art Theory, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
1995 Master of Fine Arts degree: Installation Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
1992 Bachelor of Fine Arts degree: Sculpture, University of Colorado, Boulder.
1991 Bachelor of Arts degree: Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology with English and History, University of Colorado, Boulder.
81-91 Multiple study programs abroad in England, Austria, Canada, Paraguay and Chile in English, Spanish and German.
2005 TORO!! The Bull in Human History, Art, and Sports
Historical Survey Exhibition including a Video Installation by Eric Ringsby
University of Wyoming Art Museum Centennial Complex Laramie, Wyoming
April 15 – August 14, 2005
“Ghost Bronc Riders” Video Installation by Eric Ringsby
Jonathan Martin Gallery
Upstairs at 525 East Cooper, Aspen, Colorado
January to April 2005
2004 “The Indian Wars of Palestine” by Eric Ringsby
David Floria Gallery
312 South Mill Street, Aspen, Colorado
March 19 to April 11, 2005
“The Rodeo Series” by Eric Ringsby
Plus + Gallery at Walnut Foundry Event Center
3002 Walnut Street, Denver Colorado
September 1st – October 30th, 2004
“Bare Walls 10th Anniversary” Alumni Exhibition
School of the Art Institute of Chicago,
847 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois
November 6th, 2004
2003 “The Indian Wars of Palestine” by Eric Ringsby
2350 Lawerence Street, Denver, Colorado
July 25 – August 23, 2003
“Coors Western Art Exhibition & Sale,” National Western Stock Show & Rodeo, Denver, Colorado.
“Malleability-Transparency-Solubility: Charting New Territory in Digital Media” (Group Show) Video stills from the “Rodeo Series” Landmark Art Gallery, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
“Art Santa Fe 2003” Sweeney Convention Center Art Fair, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
2002 “The Rodeo Series,” Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame & Museum of the American Cowboy, Colorado Springs, CO. (Solo Exhibition).
“Coors Western Art Exhibition & Sale,” National Western Stock Show & Rodeo, Denver, Colorado.
2001 “The Rodeo Series of Eric Ringsby,” Joseph Raj Gallery, Austin, Texas,(Solo Exhibition).
“The Colorado Biennial,” Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, Denver, Colorado.
“The Rodeo Series,” David Floria Gallery, Aspen, Colorado.
2000 “The San Francisco International Art Exposition,” Fort Mason, San Francisco, California, David Floria Gallery, Aspen Colorado.
“The Aspen Valley Biennial,” Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado.
“The Colorado Biennial,” Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, Denver, Colorado.
“The Rodeo Series,” David Floria Gallery, Aspen, Colorado.
1999 “The Rodeo Series,” David Floria Gallery, Aspen, Colorado.
1998 “Conservación Termodinámica,” in collaboration with Carmen
Mariscal, 72 Stunden, Zweiter Berliner Kongress für
Performance und Visual Art, Berlin, Germany.
“Question of Identity: Projected Video Installation,” Emerging
Media, Edge Gallery, Denver, Colorado.
1997 “Conservacion Termodinamica,” in collaboration with Carmen Mariscal, IV Concurso de Instalacion y Ambientacion, Ex-Teresa Arte Alternativo – Programa Materiales para las Artes – INBA, Mexico City, Mexico “Fridgid Aire,” in collaboration with Carmen Mariscal, Special Atelier Exhibition, Mexico City, Mexico
1995 “La Mano Poderosa,” Master of Fine Arts Exhibition, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
“Marvelous,” Aspen Art Museum Art Park, Aspen, Colorado
“The Art of Instant Victimization Performance,” Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
1994 “Dental Tool,” Base Space Sculpture Gallery, SAIC, Chicago, Illinois “A Young Man’s Travels to Paraguay,” Art and Technology, Art and Technology Gallery Space, SAIC, Chicago, Illinois
“The Burning Tower,” Sculpture Grads, Graduate Sculpture Gallery, SAIC, Chicago, Illinois
“La Mano Poderosa,” Playing Around, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado
“A Burning Dilemma,” Art and Technology, Truman College, Chicago. Illinois
“A Burning Dilemma Poster Art” International Design Conference at Aspen, Colorado
1993 “Marvelous,” Grand Champions Club, Aspen, Colorado (1992-1993)
“Marvelous,” Destinations, United Express Airline Magazine (1992-93)
“A Burning Dilemma,” Opening Pandora’s Box, Gallery 2, SAIC, Chicago, Illinois
1992 “Marvelous,” Katherine Fleck Gallery, Aspen Colorado
“Marvelous,” and “Burning Dilemma,” Colorado Artists, Colorado Pro-Choice Benefit, Denver, Colorado
“A Burning Dilemma,” Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition, University of Colorado, Boulder
“A Burning Dilemma, Newspaper Adverts” Colorado Daily, Boulder, Colorado
1991 “Marvelous,” International Design Conference in Aspen, Aspen, Colorado “Roman Wilderness of Pain, ” Group Show, University of Colorado, Boulder
1990 “Sculpture of Eric Ringsby,” Group Show, A Quality Lab, Boulder, Colorado
“Roman Wilderness of Pain, ” Group Show, Pirate Art Gallery, Denver, Colorado
“The Dragon,” Site Specific Installation, University of Colorado, Boulder.
1989 “Question in Broken Glass,” Berlin Wall, Berlin, West Germany
“Sculpture of Eric Ringsby,” Group Show, A Quality Lab, Boulder, Colorado
“Burn Baby Burn”Group Show, University of Colorado, Boulder
1988 “Whoops Outside Your Head,” Group Show, University of Colorado, Boulder
1987 “Father Knows Best,” Group Show, University of Colorado, Boulder
1986 “Horrifying” Young Sculptors, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Life Savers, (Rodeo Clowns), 1999, digital video still on canvas from “The Rodeo Series 1999.” Alexander and Meagan Julian, Ridgefield, Conneticut.
Portrait of the Artist as a Cowboy, (Saddle Bronc Rider #10), 1999, digital video still on canvas from “The Rodeo Series 1999.” Donald and Karen Ringsby, Aspen, Colorado.
Sky Rider, (Saddle Bronc Rider #2), 1999, digital video still on canvas from “The Rodeo Series 1999.” Donald and Karen Ringsby, Denver, Colorado.
Marvelous, 1992 life size bronze, Linda Ringsby and Dick Grant, Peoria, Illinois.
Marvelous, 1992 life size bronze, Donald and Karen Ringsby, Denver, Colorado.
Dental Tool, 1994, cast aluminum & steel sculpture, Hu-Friedy Inc. World Headquarters, Meville, New York.
The Sculpture of Eric William Ringsby, 1993, (photographs) Petropavlovsk Library, Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka, Russia.
Feminist Video Sculpture, 1993, mixed media video sculpture, Pamela Joseph, Aspen, Colorado
Roman Wilderness of Pain, 1990, cast aluminum sculpture, Still Mountain Clinic, Boulder Colorado.
The Dragon, 1990, steel sculpture, Quebec Street Park, Denver, Colorado.
Horrifying, 1986, cast aluminum sculpture, Donald and Karen Ringsby, Denver, Colorado.
The Colorado Biennial , Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, Exhibition catalog by J. Gluckstern, Simon Zalkind and Mark Masuoka. Gluckstern describes Ringsby’s “Bull Rider,” 2000 video installation as packing an “emotional punch is like a right hook from prehistory.” Denver, Colorado, pp. 1-49, 2000.
The Aspen Times, “It’s art, it’s cowboys – it’s not ‘cowboy art’,” by Amiee B. White, Excellent profile on Eric Ringsby and his Rodeo Series. “Eric Ringsby is forging a new frontier for contemporary art.” Aspen , Colorado, Sat-Sun, November 25-26, 2000, pp. 3-B-4-B.
Westword, “Fast and Loose,” by Michael Paglia, Thorough review of the Colorado Biennial at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver and “Bull Rider,” 2000 video installation by Eric Ringsby, Denver, Colorado, Nov, 2, 2000.
Boulder Weekly, “Britney Spears, Grandma Gone Bad and MOCA/D,” by Kristie Betts, Glowing review of the Colorado Biennial at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver and “Bull Rider,” 2000 video installation by Eric Ringsby, Boulder, Colorado, Nov, 2, 2000.
New York Arts Magazine, “Don’t Fence Me In,” Informed review of Ringsby’s Rodeo Series at the inaugural exhibition in a gallery in Chelsea, New York, NY, Aug, 10, 2000.
The New Yorker, “Inaugural Show,” Brief review of Ringsby’s Rodeo Series at the first exhibition at Cornell DeWitt Gallery, Chelsea, New York, New York, Aug, 7, 2000. pg.14.
Eric Ringsby, interviewed by Angela Martinez, ARCO CD ROM Magazine, Madrid, Spain,1999. ” Ringsby was interviewed by the magazine of the Feria Internacional de ARte COntemporáneo of Madrid, Spain, on why he collects the art of Vik Muniz and emerging artists.
Eric Ringsby, interviewed by Arte Y Cultura Especial, Arte Y Cultura Especial, UNIVISION, Mexico City, Mexico, 1997. Ringsby was interviewed on Mexican television, after winning the National Prize of Mexico for Installation Art, Mexico City, Mexico.
Eric Ringsby , Generation X TV, Washington, D.C., 1994. Ringsby was interviewed by “Generation X TV”, a cable television program based in Washington, D.C. on academic political correctness.
Eric Ringsby, interviewed by Michael Stranahan and Sy Coleman, KAJX, Aspen Public Radio, Aspen, Colorado, 1994, on the subject of academic political correctness and his sculpture.
“Putting a New Spin on Miniature Golf and Art in Aspen,”The Rocky Mountain News, June 19, 1994, Sunday Edition. Art Critic Mary Voelz Chandler favorably reviewed Ringsby’s Mano Poderosa No. 3, 1995 at the Aspen Art Museum.
“Step Into A World Of Enigma,” The Colorado Daily, May 1-3, 1992, Weekend Edition. David Alan favorably reviewed Ringsby’s Burning Dilemma: Video Sculpture, 1992, Boulder, Colorado.
Friendly Dictators (forthcoming). Ringsby’s novel about personal and societal moral responsibility and of an American’s coming-of-age under military dictatorship in Paraguay and Chile.
“Letter to a Radical Feminist,” College News, Vol. 3 No. 5, May 1994, pp. 3 & 39. Chicago, Illinois.
“Shrieking Stars: The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov,” Zingmagazine, (forthcoming), New York, New York.
“VI Fitac,”Curare, Espacio Crítico Para Las Artes, No. 12, June 1998. International Forum of Contemporary Art Theory, at Expoarte Guadalajara 97, Mexico City, Mexico.
Cornell DeWitt Gallery: 547 W 27 St, NY, NY, 10001. “Cornell DeWitt Gallery” featured many emerging and established artists from Colorado and Wyoming, including Linda Girvin, Terry Maker & Chris Rogers, Eric Ringsby, Chuck Forsman, David Rief, Milton Rosa-Ortiz, Craig Coleman, Terence Culver, Ethan Jackson, Jenny Laden, Christina Mazzallupo and Patty Wickman. Located on the second floor of an historic 1860s building on W. 27th St, between 10th and 11th Avenues, the gallery featured original wood columns, beams and floor – unique in the Chelsea neighborhood. Open from 2000-2004, The gallery is now closed.
American Spirit Productions: Ringsby was a founding partner in this Aspen, Colorado based video production company which produced and made “Thelonious Monk Jazz Colony at jazz Aspen Snowmass” narrated by Michael Douglas for public television. See “Videography.”
Rafter Six Ranch Summer Photo Workshop: Eric Ringsby is director. Rafter Six Photo Workshop is nestled at the base of the Snowy Range Mountains of Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest, near Laramie. The mission of the Rafter Six is to provide a non-ideological environment for the exchange of ideas and to provide access to the traditional Western lifestyle.
ericringsby.com: Ringsby’s extensive websitewith large color images featuring four distinct portfolios of his contemporary art, Friendly Dictators novel (forthcoming), The Rafter Six Ranch & The WWII Photography of Raymond Getz. Ringsby is preparing his collection of WWII Photography of U.S. Major Raymond J. Getz M.D. for international exhibition. Getz was a medic at the front and organized the treatment of prisoners released from concentration camps. These images of Europe before, during and after WWII to the Holocaust, also features unreleased photos taken by The Third U.S. Army and by a German officer.
Biography Presents: Butch Cassidy Arts & Entertainment Channel, September, 1997.
A & E Channel adapted American Spirit Production’s (Ringsby is a founding partner in this production company) first treatment.
Burning Dilemma: Video Sculpture, 1992.
VHS; color and sound, 12 minutes. Boulder: University of Colorado.
Conservación Termodinámica, 1997.
VHS & PAL; color and sound, 12 minutes. Chicago: SAIC.
Fear of the Other, 1995.
Hi-8; color and sound, 7 minutes, Chicago: SAIC.
General Electric TV Ads
In the late 1960’s, Ringsby appeared in numerous television advertisements, for General Electric, starting about age five, with his mother.
Grassroots News, Aspen, Colorado. 1996.
Ringsby worked as TV newsman, writer and cameraman.
Loose Cattle on Road, 1991.
VHS; color and sound, 7 minutes. Boulder: University of Colorado.
Lost and Found in New Orleans, 2002
VHS (filmed in Super-8); black & white and sound, 7 minutes. New Orleans: SAIC.
Portrait of the Artist as the Enemy, 1994.
VHS (filmed with Hannisian 3-D Hi-8 video camera); 3-D color and sound, 12 minutes. Aspen: Hannisian 3-D Video Vision.
The Art of Instant Deification Through Victimization, 1995.
VHS; color and sound, 7 minutes. Chicago: SAIC.
The Manufacturing of Consent, 1989.
1 inch Master Broadcast Video; 30 minutes. Boulder: Grassroots Television.
Ringsby wrote, produced and directed this TV show. He and David Hardbrow reviewed Noam Chomsky’s book, of the same name, on “Local Access.”
The Thelonius Monk Jazz Institute at Aspenm 1997.
VHS; color and sound, 7 minutes. Aspen: American Spirit Productions.
An American Spirit Productions documentary narrated by Academy Award winner Michael Douglas featuring artists Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Nathan Davis and Dr. Billy Taylor. Aired on Colorado PBS, March, 1999.
1999 Top Student, Sankey Rodeo School, (Saddle Bronc Riding), Lubbock Texas.
1997 National Prize of Mexico for Installation Art, “Conservación Termodinámica,” in collaboration with Carmen Mariscal, IV Concurso de Instalación y Ambientación, Ex-Teresa Arte Alternativo, Programa Materiales para las Artes & Instituto Nacional de las Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico.
1992 Schramm Research Scholarship, for “Burning Dilemma: Video Sculpture”, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
1992 Independent Research Architect, Passive Solar Greenhouse Project:
The Pink House, (Computer Animated Design and construction), The College of Environmental Design, University of
Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
1991 Field Biologist, Arctic Field Research: Northwest Territories of Canada, Geography
1990 Department, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
1985 Field Researcher, Pingree Park Field Study: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado State University, Colorado.
Independent Field Researcher, Ornithology: Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen, Colorado.
Conferences & Major Film Festivals
“ARCO, Feria Internacional de ARte COntemporáneo,” Official Guest of Major Collectors, Madrid, Spain, 1998 & 1999.
“Art 1998 Chicago at Navy Pier,” International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, 1998.
“Aspen Writers Conference,” Writing Fiction Workshop with Ron Carlson, Aspen, Colorado, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000.
“Berlinale, 48th International Film Festival of Berlin,” Producer for American Spirit Productions, Berlin, Germany, 1998.
“Foro Internacional de Teoría Sobre Arte Contemporáneo, Expoarte Guadalajara 1997,” International Art Fair of Mexico, Guadalajara, Mexico.
“Poetry Workshop with Joshua Clover & Laura Mullen,” Director & workshop participant, Rafter Six Ranch Art Center, Arlington, Wyoming, 1996.
“Sundance Film Festival,” Producer for American Spirit Productions, Park City, Utah, 1997.
“The 50th Cannes Film Festival,” Special Guest of Le Société des Auteurs etCompositeurs Dramatiques, Producer for American Spirit Productions, Cannes, France, 1998.
“The International Design Conference at Aspen,” Aspen, Colorado, 1991-2002.
2000-2001 Part-time Faculty,”Sculpture” The University of Wyoming, Laramie.
1997 Part-time Faculty, “4-D: An Introduction to Film, Video, Installation and Performance Art,” The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Illinois.
1997 Faculty, “ise@97, 8th International Conference on Electronic Art,” The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
1996 “Poetry Workshop with Joshua Clover & Laura Mullen,” Director & workshop participant, Rafter Six Ranch Art Center, Arlington, Wyoming.
1995 Art,” The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
1994 Teaching Assistant, “4-D: An Introduction to Film, Video, Installation and Performance
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