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March 2012


Recto/Verso was an exhibition of illustrations by one of the UK’s most current young and exciting illustrators, Stuart Ruel. Presented at The Book Club, his first solo show exhibited a painted mural designed specifically for the exhibition, a collection of illustrations, together with an intimate look into the artist’s sketchbooks. ‘Recto’ and ‘Verso’ meaning the front and back of pages respectively, and in Stuart’s case that have come to build a wealth of work documenting muses, concepts, practices, rants and neuroses. In doing so Stuart has built an on-going narrative where each mark and note is relevant to a time, place and stimulus, spanning over the course of four years and has ultimately become the cornerstone of his artwork.

‘My sketchbooks have become a valuable tool for me, a place where I can retreat to and in what might in fact be the only conclusive proof that I have actually existed’. Stuart Ruel

With a visual language of literary and musical reference, each piece serves as a milestone, reminder or resolution. Themes of mortality, love and the sublime are ever current as a reminder of the fallible nature of the human condition. His mixing of analogue and digital media echoes his affinity for the bygone eras as well as embracing the modern. Ruel’s artwork was on show alongside its initial embryonic stages from his sketchbook drawings.

‘There’s talent and a sense of confidence in his work that usually is seen in portfolios by older artists. There is great potential here that I look forward expanding into unknown depths.’ Greta Lenartowicz, Counter-Culture Magazine

Stuart Ruel lives and works in London where he studied illustration. His work has garnered him recognition by Moleskine and Cheltenham Illustration Awards. He has worked on a range of projects including albums covers and publicity material across the British hip hop scene including Sercoee, Cally and Kingsley Zah. Plus editorial for Playground magazine, Stalls magazine and fashion print for Stööki.