Steve Ruth Escape of the Misfit Toys

August 16, 2002 – October 5, 2002

Artist Statement

“As the head toy maker for the Island of Misfit Toys I feel it necessary to explain the odd set of events that have lead to this hellish installation here at Lawndale.

About 2 years ago a blockish, stubborn, and altogether insubordinate toy named “Square” decided he must leave my Island of Misfit. Things were tight at the Island of Misfit, studio apartment; space was at a premium. A toy might be lucky to get out of the box once a year for viewing.It was not long before this little locomotive was able to convince a small elephant, who was also tired of reading about the world, into making an escape in search of a loving home. So after one more disappointingChristmas in 2000, the two little toys made their breakin a castaway box.The toys set themselves adrift in an ocean of dreams floating haplessly along. But only a short time passed before the little toys hooked up with a band of runaway puppets. The puppets, a shady but animated bunch of bad actors, were on the run from the circus and their devilish ex-manager“Spew.” This dynamic group, currently under contract with the devil, decided they need their artistic freedom and went on the lam. On the run they hooked up with our naive little toys. One thing led to another and the menagerie of misfits swirled along in search of adventure and love thinking little of the demonic forces at work.

Soon bad tidings befell the misplaced band of wunderkammerns. Thedevils, “SPEW and FRY,” quickly found and captured the gullible band of misfits. Spew, the puppet troupes’ ex-manager and one nasty fiend, looked forward to ripping the stuffing out of these little artsy contract breakers.Spew in league with his big brother, Fry, were greedily contemplating the party’s fates, haggling between themselves over the spoils of their catch.One thing was certain: the devils had bad intentions for this party of misfits.Fortunately for the toys, Lawndale and I were able to summon the whole kit and caboodle from their fiery fate here to the micro gallery for the duration of the exhibit. With a little luck the toys may still escape their fiery fate and find a loving home before the end of show.”

Artist Bio

Steve Ruth has shifted between publications, the performing, and visual arts throughout his artistic career in Houston. Steve worked with the Zocalo Theater during the 1998 season. While teaching inHISD he continued to develop partnerships with the art community of Houston. He worked with the E-Z credit dance company of No Tsu oH in 1999 and 2001. He performed with the Art Guys at the opening of the Rice hotel, worked with Lawndale on various projects, and created with the PublicPainting Group throughout his years in Houston. Steve’s partnership with schools led to the creation of a bronze sculpture as part of the Spark Park program in 2001. In Steve’s works with narrative iconography, the symbols reference points outside the work toward the greater story of their own creation. In the works that deal with form alone, process becomes the story. The actions within and around a work’s form add to their individual stories and further reflect a greater meaning. These relationships create a conceptual and physical stage as the sign and the signified play on and off of each other.