Christy Rupp is an American eco-artist and citizen scientist. Having grown up in the Rust Belt of upstate NY, she witnessed firsthand the hazards of industrial waste and efforts to conceal the underlying causes of pollution. She moved to NYC in the late ’70s as it faced bankruptcy and offered fertile ground for a generation of artists lucky enough to participate in the petri dish of history, culture, and nature that was late-capitalist downtown. Originating from an interest in urban ecology and the waste stream, Rupp’s work taps into universal themes of climate change and justice. Her work has focused on environmental hazards like fracking waste, oil extraction, and water quality.
For the Leaf Litter exhibition at the Ildiko Butler Gallery Rupp is enlarging images of 2 cut-paper collages to full scale of the gallery’s east and west walls and adding wall-mounted sculpture on top of the images. On the east wall is an image of a forest under assault by the construction of pipes and bulldozers, mounted on top is a sculpture of life-size Quetzal (an extinct bird from Guatemala ) made with credit cards, an illusion to borrowing from the future and the connection to extinction. On the West wall is an enlarged collage of burst pipes spewing oil underwater as small planktonic Crabs are carried by the currents directly into the oil spill. On top of this image, there is a Forest Newt, made of charred matches, which links air and water pollution, both destabilized by the effects of excess CO2. The south wall is a series of Aquatic Larvae composed of single use plastic debris, made by the artist to visualize the integration of micro plastic particles into the birth cycles of all living species.
Rupp has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation (Creating a Living Legacy Award), and Art Matters Foundation. Her work has been visible in the US and internationally since 1979.
Leaf Litter also celebrates the launch of Noisy Autumn, a monograph of the ecological artworks of Christy Rupp over the past 45 years. It was designed with collaborator Abby Goldstein, Fordham Professor of Art and head of the Graphic Design area. Ms. Goldstein’s book credits are many with best sellers about type history, and she has also produced numerous catalogs for artists and galleries and is a painter known for her organic imagery. The book is published by Insight Editions on wood-free paper.