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Academic Level at Time of Creation
Date of Creation
My work comes from a place of tension between trying to understand the world and being understood. My current focus is making work that has more centralized and serious concepts. Despite some naturalistic elements that are often seen throughout my works,
I intentionally combine these elements along with imagery that brings the viewer to a made-up or dream-like reality . One of the most important aspects to these types of works, especially more recently, is my use of color. Throughout a lot of my work, I utilize form and proportion as well as color to emphasize the ambience of the scene or object. This comes from the idea of art itself being a visual language and being able to have a silent, one way conversation with the image or object you are viewing. However, a lot of my artistic process is pushed by improvisation.
During my artistic process, I write down thoughts I have as much as possible throughout the day. I used to spend time figuring out exactly what I wanted a piece to say. However, I have discovered that it becomes mentally draining to try to plan out every intricacy of a piece, so recently I have started projects without a clear end goal. I like to experiment and see how processes and elements work afterwards. Some examples of this method are evident in most of my metalsmithing works ( Image 1&3). If I am not satisfied with the results of his intuitive process, I keep reworking and problem solving a piece until it works. It can be a mental rollercoaster, but I enjoy that aspect of it so I try to keep challenging myself to make something different and more interesting than the last piece I made. The steps taken to develop a piece usually lead me to discover new conceptual ideas throughout the process. For example, my final piece could have no meaning when I start out but during the process of making that piece I come to a realization of what I am wanting to convey and how to articulate that. Recently, I’ve been interested in exploring the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, especially the maternal relationship between my mother and I (Image 2). Although I’ve never put much thought into what family is and how it affects me personally, I’m now realizing that my family is one of my biggest influences.
Everyone in my household is creative either artistically or musically, so there was always something being made or played. Remembering this fact, it seems quite natural for me to have started making drawings as a form of expression and communication because that was always my main purpose. However, it was more difficult to find contemporary artists that I can relate to and be truly influenced by until I discovered Dan Miller. He is an active member at the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland,California. His work focuses on understanding and processing the world and communicating with it (Image 4). His message really resonated with me because I’m finding that's also what I want to convey in my own work.
(Image 1: Gretchen Ruth; Image 2: Gretchen Ruth; Image 3: Gretchen Ruth; Image 4 : Dan Miller)
This portfolio is a collection of some of the works that I have completed during my undergrad BFA path.
All photos provided taken by the artist, Gretchen Ruth.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Ruth, Gretchen, "Gretchen Ruth Art399 Portfolio" (2021). Professional Practices (ART 399). 120.