Steve Rucker (b. 1954) was born in Cleveland, Tennessee. As an adolescent, he remembers that art held as much interest for him as “girls and the Beatles.” That interest resulted in talent and skill at a young age; he earned Senior Art Award at his high school. Rucker earned an Associate of Art degree from Cleveland State Community College before attending Middle Tennessee State University and Louisiana State University to complete his Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees. Following his graduation, Rucker accepted a position teaching ceramics, painting, and drawing at Loyola University in New Orleans, where he remained for thirty years until retiring as a Professor Emeritus.
Though Rucker has retired to Tennessee, the importance of Louisiana and of the Mississippi River is evident in his work. Rucker has stated, “my work is directly inspired by the Southern landscape, the work of visionary outsiders, agriculture, social and environmental ironies, and any music with a good beat.” Rucker works primarily in ceramics, and refers to himself as an installation artist. In his installations, he is able to deliberately displace his viewer. He says, “they are forced to step back or walk around as opposed to standing in the middle of a piece of artwork that may be traditionally hung on a wall.”
Bank House, is part of a series of ceramic sculptures created for an imaginative installation, entitled Better Homes Better Gardens. This “house” was arranged with many others into a miniature neighborhood. With a central theme of social and environmental issues, each sculpture featured slight variations on the theme through which the artist explored “the Contemporary nightmarish aspect of suburbia — drug abuse, poisonous insecticides, illegal guns, and gambling.
Steve Rucker, Bank House (pencil), 1992. Ceramic and steel, 84 x 48 x 26 inches. Louisiana Art & Science Museum Collection, 2013.001.001