Garrett Pruter is a young New York-based artist, known for his mosaic-style manipulations of found photographs that alter the meanings of historically and culturally important images. His art revolves around themes of memory and loss, and the genesis of a photo being created and deteriorating through its lifespan. Pruter was born in 1987 in California, and he graduated with a BFA degree from the Parsons School of Design in 2010.
Garrett Pruter’s creative process
At the heart of his investigation is the act of subtraction – cuts, tears and bleach poured on the images delete meaning, but at the same time highlight a negative space, in which it is possible to find new bearing.
Pruter has collected vernacular photographs and slides since his teenage years, generally drawn to photos that have not been treated as precious objects and, through time, have taken on a naturally weathered appearance. While in his own possession, the photos are still handled haphazardly, allowing the physical transformation of a new patina acquired through the artist’s own travels and experiences. He is also interested in the physical journey that photographs endure within their lifespan and the wear and tear that they take on as they transfer hands and ownership through multiple generations. Many of the photos he acquired during his travels this past year through France, Hungary and Georgia contain images of the very landscapes Pruter was traversing. This created, for him, a feeling of multiple gazes and vantage points that he would later reexamine during the process of creating his work. The stains, smudges, and tears in the paper provide evidence of time’s natural distortion of reality.
Works of Garrett Pruter
Continuing his exploration of nostalgia, entropy and the fragility of memories, in series named Interiors, Pruter investigates a series of images of interiors through 3 different lenses – as a constructed personal and reflective universe, as a negative space closed off from outer elements, but also as the internal surface and structure of photography itself.
His series of stain paintings titled Traces are created from a unique subtraction of photographic imagery and their reconstitution on classical supports. Part of Pruter’s process is to selectively subtract the pigment of his collected photographs by slowly bleeding them directly onto the work’s surface. With some of the paintings, where the composition seems quite spare, the works have in fact gone through many layers of addition and subtraction, through a back-and‐forth process of erasure and creation, not unlike a palimpsest. The resulting built-up marks mimic naturally occurring formations such as puddles, crevices, sediment, and mold.
Garrett Pruter lives and works between New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA.