Contemporary Art of Eric Ringsby Copyright Protected © 2002, 2003 ericringsby.com
The Rodeo series is currently being exhibited:
Art Critic Review
By: Hilary Stunda

Digital Stills
   

The Rodeo Series 1999 is computer video based art about rough stock rodeo riding (bull riding, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding and bullfighting). It is a work in progress with new pieces in the works. Thus far completed are two video pieces, Ghost Riders, 1999 and Bull Rider, 1999 and fifteen digital stills printed on canvas.

The Rodeo Series is a direct result of Ringsby becoming disenchanted with the vicarious life of academia. After a decade of university life, having achieved three degrees, and feeling the brunt of academic political correctness, the artist was ready for real life. Delighted to reconnect with his Western roots Ringsby found himself back at his old family ranch in Wyoming. Over the the past five years, he improved his ability at horseback riding, packing and training (this includes breaking and training wild Mustang colts with veteran Utah cowboys). Ringsby became increasingly interested in rodeo and decided to fulfill a boyhood dream of learning how to ride rodeo broncs. At age 35, Ringsby started riding saddle bronc. At the Lyle Sankey Rodeo school Lubbock, Texas Ringsby rode his first bronc to the eight second buzzer. He was awarded the Top Student of all rough stock events (most of the other students were half his age).

The video used, as the basis of this work, was originally shot by the artist to study saddle bronc riding and thus improve his technique. Ringsby digitized his Hi8 video from rodeos in Wyoming, Texas and Alberta, on his computer. Next he reduced the speed to about 25% to scrutinize the top riders methods of staying on board. The imagery was so hypnotic and beautiful, Ringsby decided to put his video art training to use and make it into contemporary art. Ringsby's challenge is to make contemporary art using classic Western imagery, while making it fresh, new and in the present, and retain a mythic timelessness.


Video Sculpture - Bull Rider, 1999
   

Bull Rider, 1999 exemplifies Ringsby's desire to create user friendly video art, video art that that is simple to operate, self contained and is easily displayed on a desk top. Built into a black bull head, in fact a steer roping dummy, is a mini video projector. This projector shoots a video of professional bull riding at night onto a wooden screen. The screen is built into the wooden cabinet that holds and hides the video player.


Video Installation - Ghost Riders, 1999
 

Ghost Riders, 1999 is about the beauty of saddle bronc riding. Like all the work in the Rodeo Series, this piece is about the dichotomy of real vs. virtual experience. Unlike virtual reality, to ride broncs is to feel every nerve in your body and know you are alive and mortal.