About John

Baltimore City
Through a combination of media, Ruppert seeks to develop a heightened consciousness of our precarious existence on this planet and how fortunate we are in our positioning in the solar system.  His work reveals both nature’s destiny and ongoing pattern of change, as well as human interference on a global scale.
Ruppert’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally.  These include Grounds for Sculpture, Omi International Sculpture Park,… more

LAB: Emperical Evidence

LAB: Empirical Evidence is an immersive installation /exhibition produced at The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at UMBC (the University of Maryland Baltimore County). Two years in the making, this survey exhibition incorporates various aspects of my work, juxtaposing sculptural objects, photography, video, and sound as they relate to the natural world, blurring the lines between art and science, and bringing awarness to climate change.  The interrelated body of work, create a synergy beyond the individual elements.  A 64 page catalogue documenting the exhibition including essays by art critics Sarah Tanguy and Dominique Nahas has also been published.

  • Empirical Evidence: Water Threshold
    Sound, speakers and concrete board, 8' x 24' x 4'. Stereo recording of lazy ocean waves traveling back and forth in a long deep crack of rock. The recording is then played back through the stereo speaker system which emits the sound from the opposing 8' x 4" slots in the threshold creating a plane of sound for the viewer to pass through.
  • Empirical Evidence: Installation - Bittersweet vines, Calving Ice and Boulders
    Video projection of calving ice, bittersweet vines, cast iron, rock, audio electronics and salt, 60' x 60' x 14'
  • Empirical Evidence: Bittersweet Vines and Calving Ice
    Bittersweet vines, stainless-steel neoprene, 14' x 80' x 20'. video projection of calving ice (no sound) 14' x 20', Bittersweet is an invasive vine imported from China in the 1860's and has since spread throughout the eastern seaboard of the US. It thrives in the zone between the built environment and the natural setting using trees as support and eventually killing the tree. Land cleared for agriculture and thruways are prime sites and incourage growth of the vines.
  • Empirical Evidence: Maryland Boulders
    Cast iron and rock (2018), 42" x 48" x 52", Boulder shown with its cast iron copy.
  • Empirical Evidence: Maryland Boulders, Echo Rock Series with Monitor
    The hollow iron casting is suspended 1" off the ground so that it can resonate from speakers and transducers housed inside the form. The electronics are activated by real-time data from the USGS global seismic monitoring system website. The monitor in the background displays real time data from the USGS global seismic activity website. One can toggle back and forth between a map and a listing of location and intensity of the most recent 20 events.
  • Empirical Evidence: Bittersweet Vine, Observation Bench and Omphalos
    The observation bench has a transducer mounted to it, activated by the USGS global seismic system. Overhead is a stereo parabolic speaker delivering sounds recorded during a 24 hr. period from the site where the bittersweet vines were harvested (off of Interstate 83 north of Baltimore) - including birds, insects and automobile & truck traffic.
  • Empirical Evidence: Omphalos
    Cast molten salt and graphite, 18" x 12" x 12", (2014)
    Omphalos references the location in Greek mythology where two eagles, released by Zeus, flew around the world in opposite directions and met in Delphi. The site is marked by a stone sculpture, similar in shape, and is considered to be the navel of the earth.
  • Empirical Evidence: Canyon/ Zhangjiajie Mountains
    Archival print on brushed aluminum (2015-16), 60" x 28" x 2"
    Composite photograph taken in the Zhangjiajie mountains in the Hunan Province of China. I present my photographic images as tangible objects to convey the physicality of the experience. In this case the luminosity of the atmosphere is conveyed through the image printed on brushed aluminum.
  • Empirical Evidence: Converging Nebulae with Force Field
    Earth magnets, magnetite, light and sound.

    These sculptures are part of an installation called "Cosmic Chamber" 12' x 20' x 20'.
    In the darkened chamber are three forms referencing celestial events along with an audio composition, combining recordings from the Big Bang and a geothermal electric power plant in Iceland. Uusing an algorithm, the two recordings phase in and out of each other while slowly rotating in the room.

    At some point, the audio stops abrutly, creating a floating sensation.
  • Empirical Evidence: Liquid Tectonics and Lava Projection
    Liquid Tectonics with USGS video of lava pouring into the ocean, Projection 14' x 35', Cast iron (approximately 1000 lb. each) (2005-on going)
    This is a grouping of 16 wedge-shaped, open face cast iron slabs varying in length from 5 to12 feet each. Because liquids find level, the shape of each wedge was determined by the width and incline of the mold. The installation references the earth's origin and continuing geological movements.

Iron Wedges/Liquid Tectonics

Over the past several years I have been working with the metal casting process to create my sculpture. The sources for my work are drawn from the landscape and the processes that have formed it, the scale and power of industry, and the effect that environmental forces have on human ordering, ranging from remote ancient ruins to urban archeology.

I see the processes and elements used to shape metal in the foundry as a metaphor for the forces that have shaped and are shaping our environment.

What interests me most about a cast object is its fossil like nature: its ability to retain and convey information. The marks of the sand mold, the flashing and the cracks left from the molten metal shrinking and the natural patina of the metal all convey history.

My castings address the way creative forces in nature shape material; comparing time and material. Wood fragments blown from trees struck by lightning, boulders worn by glaciers and water, and hybrid oversized gourds have been used for patterns for the castings.

Each cast iron wedge weighs approximately 1,000 lbs.  The shape of each wedge is determined by the angle of the sides of the mold and the incline of the mold in the ground.

This project is on going..........
  • Liquid Tectonics
    Cast iron, Wedges range in size from 4' to 12' long.
  • Liquid Tectonics
    Cast iron
  • Liquid Tectoinics (Detail)
    Cast iron
  • Sand mold waiting for metal
  • ironwedges-8-9molds-pp.jpg
    Two wedge sand molds waiting for metal.
    One has it's walls closer together then the other and it's angle in the earth is deeper then the other.
  • ironwedge-8pour2-pp.jpg
  • ironwedge-8pour3-pp.jpg
  • ironwedge-8pour4-pp.jpg
  • ironwedges-8-9cooling-pp.jpg
    Iron Wedges cooling
  • ironwedge-9pour-pp.jpg


Metal castings of Boulders that have been effected by natural and human energy events.

In most cases the original boulder is displayed with the cast copy to bring into question what is real and what is not .....
  • Berg. 2019
    Vermont slate and cast aluminum
    56" x 40" x 14" (each)
    The "Berg" Series references the vanishing ice coused by climate change.
  • Berg 2. 2020
    Vermont slate and cast aluminum
    The "Berg" Series references the vanishing ice coused by climate change.
  • Berg 2. 2020
    Vermont slate and cast aluminum
    The "Berg" Series references the vanishing ice coused by climate change.
  • Split Rock Series
    Granite glacier boulder and cast bronze
    33" x 30" x 15" (each)
  • Ocean Boulders
    Granite, cast iron, bronze and stainless steel
    12" x 24" x 15" (each)
  • Plateau
    Rock from dynamite blast and Cast bronze
  • River Jacks
    Granite river rock, cast aluminum, bronze, copper and iron

    18" x 40" x 16" (each)
  • River Jacks (Detail)
    Cast Aluminum
    18" x 40" x 16"
  • Dynamite Rock
    Rock from dynamite blast and cast iron
    22" x 30" x 45"
  • Glacier Boulders
    Granite glacier boulder, iron and concrete
    60" x 50" x 96"
    Artscape 2000


Copper, Aluminum and iron castings made from shards of trees that have been hit by lightning.
  • Cherry Tree Strike 2017
    Cast ductile iron
    20' x 2' x 2'
  • Three Strikes - Stainless steel. 2018
    Cast stainless steel and rock
    14' x 20' x 60'
  • Horizontal Strike
    Cast aluminum & copper
  • Thuder Bolt-Wing
    Cast iron
    111' x 14" x 8"
  • Aluminum Strike
    Cast aluminum strike with core Sand
    139" x 30"x 30"
  • Thunder Bolt 2007
    Cast iron
    119" x 11" x 11"
  • Helstrike with Boulders
    Cast aluminum strike with granite glacier boulder and cast aluminum and bronze boulders
    Installation 22' x 20' x 20' Boulders 14’x 20”x20” (each)
  • Triad 1993
    Cast aluminum
    56” x 97” x 9”
  • Torque 1995
    Cast aluminum
    110” x 12” x 10”
  • First Strke - Copper. (1995- On going)
    Cast copper from fragment of tree hit by lighting
    93" x 7" x 8"

Composite Photography

These composite photographs are a result of various residencies that I have participated in.

I choose residencies  by their proximity to the landscape. 

The composite photographs are,  in a sense, constructed and are a direct response to the landscape. 

They are an investigation into the origins of the earth and where we are headed. 

  • Lingering Memory / Etna / Lava Gate 2017
    Compoosite photograph with animated sky
    35" x 120"
  • Crater I / Etna / Primary Landscape Series. 2017
    Composite photograph / archival print
    40" x 60"
  • Lava Flow - Etna 2017
    Composit photograph / archival print
    40" x 40"
  • The Thaw / High Arctic Project. 2019
    Composite photograph / archival print
    40" x 60"
  • Shifting Landscape / High Arctic Project 2019
    Composite photograph / archival print
    42" x 42"
  • Glaciers Edge / High Arctic Project. 2019
    Composite photograph / archival print
    50" x 40"
  • Shifting Landscape II / High Arctic Project 2019
    Composite phoitograph / archival print
    48" x 48"
  • Drift / High Arctic Circle Project 2019
    Composite photograph / archival print
    40" x 50"
    Layered fragments of composite process shifted like the ice
  • Burning Ice / High Arctiuc Project - Glacier Lagoon. 2019
    Composite photograph
    Archival print
    48" x 48"
  • Snow Peak / Pending Sky. 2019-20
    Composite Photograph
    30"x 30"

Chain-Link Fabric Sculpture

Exploration of form, material and light.
The chain-link fabric objects become catalysts in the site and perform as perceptual devices or monitors in the landscape, bringing attention to their surroundings.
  • 3 Orbs / KUMU Estonia
    Aluminum chainlink fabric, 14' 16' (diameter) each
  • Gourd / Grounds for Sculpture
  • gfs-gourd-aerial3-pp
  • evergreen-group-pp
  • Yellow / Homage to Van Gough 2014
    Powder coated vinyle chain-link fabric and stainless steel
    11' x 11'
  • diva-pp
  • cruciblefs-angle-pp2
  • kreeger2-pp
  • Millenium Orb / Kreeger Museum
    Aluminum chain link fabric, 12' x 16' (diameter)
  • Beach Orbs / Virginia Beach, VA
    Galvanized chainlink fabric
    12' x 12' diameter (each)
    Virginia Beach

Video Projection Installations

The video installations bring together the various interests and media that I have been working with over the past several years. It is also heavily influenced by my observations of nature and my interest in the physical presence of material, the history of an object and the use of technology.
  • Origins
    Crucible = aluminum chain-link fabric 10' x 10' x 10'
    River jack = granite, cast aluminum, bronze, copper,& iron.
    Marble dust
    Video projection of turbulent ocean
    Installation 40' x 40' x 40'
  • Origins (Detail)
  • Origins (Detail)
  • Sunken Grid with Strike
    Sunken Grid = Galvanized steel, Strike = Cast iron

    Sunken Grid 65” x 168” x 55”
    Strike 156” x 8” x 5”
  • Sunken Grid with Strike and Koi
    Sunken Grid = Galvanized steel
    Strike = Cast iron
    Video projection of Koi

    Sunken Grid 65” x 168” x 55”
    Strike 156” x 8” x 5”
  • Sunken Grid with Strike (Back view)
    Sunken Grid Galvanized steel, Strike Cast iron

    Sunken Grid 65” x 168” x 55”
    Strike 156” x 8” x 5”
  • Sunken Grid with Strike and Koi (Back view)
    Sunken Grid = Galvanized steel
    Strike = Cast iron
    Video projection of Koi

Molds of Molds

Metal castings of the molds of rocks.
  • Drift-landscape
    Cast iron and granite
    18" x 120" x 144"
  • Drift-landscape (Detail)
  • Cavity - Molds of Molds Series
    Cast iron, copper and zinc
    10"x 14" x 14"
  • Drift II - Molds of Molds Series
    Rock and cast iron
    14" x 32" x 72"
  • Drift II - Molds of Molds
    Cast iron
  • Drift II (Detail)
    Cast iron
  • Cevas - Molds of Molds Series
    Cast Iron, copper and zinc
    9" x 16" x 16"

Celestial Bodies and Events

This is an exploration of material and process as metaphor to celestiual bodies and events beyond our imediate experince and comprehention. 
  • Cosmic Chamber 2019-0ngoing
    The Celestial Event series references cosmic events such as black holes, pulsars, and the Big Bang while working with tangible materials and unseen forces.

    Magnetite (an iron sand and product of volcanos) comes from the deepest core of the earth and is a reminder of the origins of the planet. These sculptures use forces on earth (magnetism) to reference the singularity of a black hole and incomprehensible ideas about time.

    The Cosmic Chamber audio loop compares the sound/energy of the primordial echo of the Big Bang to turbines driven by geothermic energy. The recording of the geothermic driven turbines is from a geothermic power plant in Hellisheiðarvirk, Iceland, 64° 02’13.5” N, 21° 24’12.2” W, captured June, 2012.
  • Force Field II / Celestial Event Series 2019
    Force Field II:
    Earth magnet (NdFeB, Grade N52) and volcanic sand (magnetite harvested from Joshua Tree, CA)
  • Converging Nebulae & Force Field / Celestial Event Series 2019
    Converging Nebulae
    Earth magnets (NdFeB, grade N42) and volcanic sand (magnetite harvested from the Adirondack Mountains, NY)

    Force Field II: Celestial Event Series 2019
    Earth magnet (NdFeB, Grade N52) and volcanic sand (magnetite harvested from Joshua Tree, CA)
  • Vortex / Celestial Event Series 2019
    Magnetite, rare earth magnet, wood, and light
    5" x 42" x 42"
  • Vortex / Celestial Event Series 2019 (Detail)
    Earth magnets (NdFeB, grade N42) and volcanic sand (magnetite harvested from the Adirondack Mountains, NY)
  • Vortex / Celestial Event Series 2019
    Earth magnets (NdFeB, grade N42) and volcanic sand (magnetite harvested from the Adirondack Mountains, NY)
  • Phobos / A Satelite of Mars
    Phobos / A satellite of Mars
    ABS plastic
    12" x 8" x 8"

    3D modeling of celestial bodies with wire frame reflection.
    Rapid prototype
  • Ida / An Astroid
    "Ida" Astroid
    ABS Plastic
    4" x 7" x 11"


The gourd has been an important staple and symbol through out the history of many cultures. Its full roundness, suggestive of a pregnant stomach, housing a great quantity of seeds for the next growing season, embodies the notion of fertility. As a food it will keep for long periods of time. When dried the shell of the gourd has a broad range of uses from storage and transport of food to cultivating the resonance of sound in musical instruments.

The Pumpkin has truly become an American phenomenon symbolizing the harvest and our agricultural industry. As a result fierce pumpkin growing competitions have evolved for the heaviest pumpkin.

The Gourds that I have been working with are products of agricultural engineering and are carefully attended to during their growing period. The pumpkins are freaks, oversized, burdened by their own weight to the point of collapse. Their size animates them giving them an anthropomorphic presence and amplifying their fertile qualities.

The Pumpkin Series is generated from a mold taken from an original 700lb pumpkin. The series is an ongoing, open-ended edition that started in 1995. Currently there are 18 aluminum and 2 iron pumpkins. In locations from the East to West coasts.

They have also been featured in a traveling exhibiton "Material Terrain."
  • Four Pumpkins / Druid Hill Park (1995 - Present)
    Cast aluminum
    29" x 43" x 42"
  • Five Pumpkins / Grounds for Sculpture
    Cast aluminum
    29” x 43” x 42” (each)
  • 5 Pumpkins / Grounds for Sculpture - Detail
    Cast aluminum
    29” x 43” x 42” (each)
  • 3 Pumpkins
    Cast aluminum
    29” x 43” x 42” (each)
  • Winter Pumpkins
    Cast aluminum
    29” x 43” x 42” (each)
  • 3 Pumpkins / Virginia Beach
    Cast aluminum
    29” x 43” x 42” (each)
  • Iron Pumpkin
    Cast iron
    29” x 43” x 42” (each)
  • Iron Pumpkin
    Cast iron
    29” x 43” x 42” (each)
  • 4 Pumpokins / De cordova Museum
    Cast aluminum
    29” x 43” x 42” (each)
  • 3 Pumpkins / Copia, Napa, CA
    Cast aluminum
    29” x 43” x 42” (each)