GARRETT PRUTER is a New York-based artist & illustrator, born and raised in California. He uses collage and drawing to piece together a not-so-distant world of fleeting memory, blurred consciousness, impossible space, and pixilated place.
His most expansive series, Asylum, explores the rougher edges of the human mind, areas that rely more heavily on carnal instinct than concrete knowledge. Found photographs of 19th and 20th century insane asylums are the subjects of this series, through which he maps connections between mental space and physical space, authority and anti-authority, and nostalgia and imagination. In the early years of psychiatry, doctors considered the architecture of their hospitals to be one of the most powerful tools for the treatment of their patients. Thousands of institutions were built to enforce these now-archaic principles. While some might argue that the physicality of these asylum walls created a tangible binary between the inside and outside worlds, the distinction actually blurs after further examination. It seems that the obsessive nature needed to create these environments is surprisingly similar to the obsessive minds trapped inside their walls.
Expanding upon these found photographs with detailed mark-making, varying from crude to obsessive, Pruter attempts to replicate the nostalgic cultural mythology that attaches itself to these grainy images, while personifying the brooding fortresses with the very idea of “insanity” contained within the authoritarian walls of each asylum. Ultimately, he presents a unified series of “humanized dehumanized” buildings that offers a deconstructed and imaginative view into some of modern civilization’s most haunting symbols of authority.