Hobart and William Smith Professor Nick Ruth challenges visual expectations
(February 13, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y.–Patterns and systems are often used to help make sense of information and experiences. As a new art show by Professor Nick Ruth demonstrates, patterns and systems can also be used to explore how things aren't always as simple as they seem.
“I think of the work as creating a visual equivalent for the tensions sometimes apparent in everyday life,” says Ruth of “This About That,” on exhibit at the Colleges' Houghton House Main Gallery Feb. 25 through March 21. Both the show and opening reception, from 7 until 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27, are free. The public is invited to attend.
Ruth's work explores spatial tension by using patterns that express apparent order and yet do not fit into the expected space. He achieves this effect by rendering forms as if they are three-dimensional, yet imbedded in the flat world of geometric pattern. “I then try to make color subvert one's expectations as well, so that the whole stew seems to have one foot in the world of decoration and order and another in the world of contradiction and flux,” says Ruth, assistant professor of art at the Colleges.
“For my work to encourage more than one reading or approach while still holding together visually is one of my primary goals. For it to be beautiful and evocative is another,” he says.
Ruth's work has been shown at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md., the Hera Gallery in Wakefield, R.I., and Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Arts Festival, as well as several additional galleries and national juried exhibitions.
Ruth lives with his wife, Nissa Youngren, and son, Silas, in Rochester, where he also has a studio. He joined the Colleges in 1995. Ruth holds a bachelor's degree from Pomona College in California and a master's of fine arts from Southern Methodist University in Texas.
A hi-res photo of the work Acrobats, oil on panel, 48″ x 36″ is available at http://campus.hws.edu/new/releases/hiRes/ruth_acrobats_hres.jpg