Brief History

  Steve DeGroodt, born on Saipan in the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific (1948), has lived and traveled extensively. Upon receiving a BFA Degree in Painting (1971) from Florida Atlantic University, he then pursued life as a professional musician both performing and recording until 1980.

Coming full circle, DeGroodt returned to visual art as the parallels to music (structure, intervals, color, texture, tension, rhythm) were quite similar. His paintings of the 1980's however integrated a variety of materials and were decidedly abstract. They also became more sculptural.

A solo journey to the south Pacific to the island of Papua New Guinea (1984) had a major impact on his life experiences and subsequently his art. The simpatico aesthetic of certain preliterate tribes whose integration of materials from their environment mixed with the flotsam and jetsam of western consumer products proved refreshing though disturbing to DeGroodt. This experience later resulted in his extensive installation RESIDUE at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (1992) that was an inquiry into the phenomenon of cultural dislocation.

While in the Pacific, DeGroodt encountered the Ghazal music of north India. This graceful plaintive music, based upon the Urdu poetry of ancient Persia, has been a reference and as such manifested itself in some of the more formal qualities of his sculptures of the mid to late 1990's. Color combined with a certain fragile aesthetic has been emphasized within this body of work.

The (1995) discovery of Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable, three novels by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, were also to have a significant influence upon DeGroodt's art. Its impact (1995-2001) has led to an ongoing series of drawings, plywood drawings, sculptures and sound sculpture. These abstract meditations based upon the human condition with its peculiar Beckettian aspects of humor and failure continue to integrate a variety of materials. (clothing scraps, fabric, bee pollen, envelopes, cardboard boxes, foam cushions, acrylic, and mulberry branches) They are combined in non-narrative juxtapositions but refer to the inarticulate deeper reaches of human existence. This interest of DeGroodt's, to allow the intrinsic voices of certain materials to engage a visual dialogue, has been consistent throughout his career as an artist.

The most recent body of work (2006-2007) is based upon the handwritten correspondences to DeGroodt from a family in rural south India. Taken from the pages of those letters written in the ancient Kannada language is a vibrant transformation into a new language of colorful abstract sculptures and reliefs.


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