1947 marked the birth of one of the most mindful sculptors of a generation, Rus Hinman. Talking to Rus can only be compared with speaking to the greatest artistic minds of the century. I imagine thoughts of this kind could only be heard throughout history from great sculptors such as Michelangelo or Donatello. Since he was a young boy, Rus knew that the only way he would be able to express his passion for life and the more meaningful side of existence would be through his mind’s creations translated into reality through stone. Rus chooses to use ancient stone because of the contrast between old and new, creating a paradoxical lasting impermanence that will extend beyond our lifetime but evaporate in the blink of an eye.
My first thoughts while listening to Rus were that here was a true artist, never before had I heard one speak with such excited involvement and depth. I could tell that sculpting was his whole world and that his life would be empty without it. Rus has been sculpting since 1973, when he majored in Fine Art with an emphasis in Sculpture at Fort Hays State College. Even while much of Rus’s subsequent time was devoted to a career in aviation as a commercial pilot and instructor, his soul remained with art, which would always be his true calling.
Rus has now set himself free by putting all of his time into his art. Through this three dimensional language, he creates entrancing works of stone, marble, bronze, steel and mixed media. Rus begins by feeling each raw stone not only with his sense of touch but with his entire being. He must feel and appreciate every unique quality the stone has to offer before letting out the trapped essence that will be his next masterpiece. Each stone has a unique history that speaks to the artist who is ready to listen. His sculptures speak of surface and depth, motion and time, present and past, and emotions that can only exist on another plane. The opportunity to create a form in surfaces from the distant past to the beginning of the planet is too great for Rus to resist.
Rus has worked a great deal in Limestone from his home state of Kansas. Appreciating the history and fossils discovered while sculpting, he incorporates these spontaneously into the life of his forms. Rus works solely with hand tools when crafting limestone. The connection between man and Earth speaks deeply as he chisels away each piece of stone. He also works with various types of marble such as Rojo Balboa, Colorado Yule, and Guatamala Verde. More recent works by Rus are in Honeycomb Calcite and Alabaster and are scheduled for completion in 2015.