Painting / Mixed Media
WATER SERIES I
The body and Nature are intrinsically dependent on water to survive - water binds the two. This first series of abstract paintings exploring water seeks to translate our relationship with arguably the most powerful element of them all. Water has the potential to heal the body yet also the potential to wipe the body out (and the collective human species) out on a mass scale.
It is well known that approximately 75% of the body is made up of water and about 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. (although this may increase with climate change). The overarching presence of the element in the body, the release of it through tears and the bigger expanses of Nature's own water - from oceans and rain to melting ice caps are of significant interest, and these works explore the feeling, movement and morphing properties of water.
Delicate, meditative, medicinal, beautiful and unassuming in all its forms, water's capability to be overwhelmingly brutal and omnipotent intrigues. Our bodies are subservient to water: it can give us life and it can take it away. Colours mimic the colours of other elements found in both the body and Natural world around us, which carry water - from our blood to the Earth’s soil and the ocean's seaweed.
How we perceive our bodies is at worst, through perceptions of body idealisms we see on social media, online shopping and online advertising. At best, we still view, perceive and understand our bodies in simulations of it or "second hand" viewing: through a mirror or a photograph. For this body of work, Ruth uses Michel Foucault's concept of “heterotopias” or 'spaceless spaces' and applies it to how we understand our physical self.
The works, created for group show, 'Collective Disturbance', formed part of Margate Festival, supported by Turner Contemporary and Arts Council England, and curated by Ruth Fox. The three works translate the viewpoints of the artist, a male and a female, looking down at their physical form. Ruth pertains that viewing the actual body in this manner means we see and experience in a primal manner, viewing the actual physical body first-hand. This work is the starting point for the first-hand perspective of body that is rarely captured. Our habitual ritual is seeing the body as reflections - in a mirror or a photograph, which are often bound up in image.
'Collective Disturbance', 27th Sept - 10th Oct 2019, sought to address artist perspectives' of our progress our failures across a wide range of current topics spanning the new masculinity, social divide and hierarchies, political unrest, consumerism, race and heritage and human extinction.
HOW YOU SEE ME, HOW YOU DON'T
Coinciding with a TEDx talk given in Nov '18 called How to Rebel Against Body Image Idealism, this latest series of works explores how we see the body, both as a whole; translated through the figurative - and in relation to the concept of image - and in sections or fragments, close up and without a mirror; translated through abstract, magnified lines, shapes and contours of the body.
The use of paint, oil pastel and thread, each requiring a different speed of The use of paint, oil pastel and thread, each requiring a different speed of application appropriated an experimentation (and a "stand off") between form which is figurative form and abstract form. This series of works also ignited new territory for exploring the representation of the human form versus the expression of the human form. "i wanted to evoke a sense of both uniting and fighting between the lines and contours on the canvas, much like the relationship our mind has with our body - particularly in the realms of perceiving and judging our own self image - whilst both mind and body seek path to recognition, acceptance and connection with others.
A MOST AWKWARD DIVIDE
‘A Most Awkward Divide’ undertook the idea that the mind-body divide is widening in a society that works, lives and is heavily embedded in the digital age or age of technology. In line, shape and contours made with paint, oil pastel and embroidery thread upon canvases stretched with a mix of fabrics, abstract and figurative processes first start their battle (and their dance together).
Expressive lines were applied repetitively.
Simultaneously, the artworks are the products of application instructed by the mind - thus demonstrating instantly, the body at the service of the mind, yet inviting the idea that, as a brushstroke was the action of the mind and body acting together, no line, shape or contour could be labelled as “wrong” - a judgement made only by the mind.
This collection of works through the subject of the mind/body divide, was the first to translate our need for a reconnection with our physical selves. It also acted as the foundation for the concept of the body as a home.