The sound art of Ruth Fox explores the emotional and physical states the body experiences. These include the touch of skin, the breath and the heartbeat. These sounds are used as instruments to create compositions with collaborative composers and musicians, and attempt to relay the fluid interchange of unity and conflict between mind and body.
SOUNDS OF MY SKIN
1 minute taster from the 6 minute track
Using her skin as an instrument, Ruth explored the body through sound with her first sound artwork, Sounds of My Skin, produced on 30 x limited edition vinyls in 2017. The work bridges sound art with a piece of music made from fifteen raw sounds of Ruth Fox's skin being stroked, hit, flicked, touched, and then collectively manipulated and reconstructed by psychedelic rock musician and composer. Steven Young. It seeks to reflect the awkward disconnection between mind and body, before very near the end, becoming ever so slightly more harmonious - honouring a quest for reconnection with the physical self. The track first played at Ruth's solo exhibition, A Most Awkward Divide with the cover artwork taken from one of her textile canvas works.
SYMPHONY OF SALT
Ruth is now working on her second piece of sound art, Symphony of Salt with two new composers and musicians, Matt Mole and Sarah Daly, who founded the alternative rock band, Scanners. The artwork features the raw sounds of her tears and sounds of ocean waves from Margate's shores, in a work that explores the journey of grief, honours the body's release of pain.
NAKED PIECES OF YOU
NYPC started as a live art project in April, 2019, with an advert published on social media for women and men who held conflicting or negative beliefs about their body, who were happy to be drawn and painted semi-naked by Ruth in the window of a gallery in Mayfair, London. At 4 Mason's Yard, behind White Cube during her week-long solo show 'How You See Me, How You Don't', the ten men and women who took part, experienced being drawn and seen through an entirely different perspective - as a series of lines, shapes and contours, and as a subject for the representation and expression of the physical human form. The core aim of the project was to omit the predominantly Western beliefs we hold about the body in terms of judgement, appearance and comparison, offset by the media, advertising and online and offline public spaces, alongside the cultural and social constructs we've grown up with.
The realisation of this project followed Ruth's TEDx talk, ‘How to Rebel Against Body Image Idealism’ at Royal Holloway University in 2018. The talk features a line on the artist's face (which is getting more and more defined) projected on to a screen at 12 feet high.
'Transform' is a 3 metre wide wearable installation made of crushed velvet fabric. The wing-like artwork was created for the feminist arts festival, POW Thanet (Power of Women) as part of 'EXSOLVO' in March 2019, a collaboration between Ruth Fox, musician, ANNA and dancer, Harriet Parker-Beldeau. The performance and 7 minute film was produced in Margate by ANNA, also co- founder of The JAM Network, an anti-human trafficking organisation and features Harriet, co-director of The Natasha's Project.
'EXSOLVO' is Latin for loosening, abandoning, relinquishing. This collaboration offers a visual and auditory exploration of the complexity of emotional, psychological and physical enslavement and release in the experience of human trafficking. It was also performed live as part of POW Festival on 7th March in Margate Market Square, to raise money for Stop The Traffik.
'Transform' was created to evoke themes of restriction, liberation, shame and survival when synergized with Harriet's dance movements. The soundtrack was created specially for the film, by ANNA.
'WOMB ROOMS' was created for the UK feminist arts festival, POW Thanet and exhibited at Pie Factory, Margate in March 2019. 'WOMB ROOMS' offers the artist's personal situation of being born in a womb adjacent to a second womb in her mother's body, a rarity her mother has known as a bicornuate uterus, which can often cause infertility. Imagining the experience of this as a baby through the themes of fear, survival, comfort and love, her installation reasserts the body as a home. Lending lightly to the theories of Semiotics, 'WOMB ROOMS' draws upon Plato's idea of the chora, which Julia Kristeva then adopted as a "nourishing maternal space.”
The installation also offers the idea that humans are frequently trying to recapture the space in the womb because it is our first ever home. From dens we make as children to the houses we inhabit as adults. The installation seeks to evoke the experience of residing in the womb and the distress of leaving this omnipotent space.
On a wider level, 'WOMB ROOMS' aims to open dialogues about the biological, historical, social and cultural discourses affecting women, their wombs and reproduction, for which the objects placed upon the chairs become signifiers.