Published: December 31, 2002
NEW YORK CITY – The Richard York Gallery has announced the opening of “Dorothy Ruddick: Recent Paintings ad Sculpture” on January 31 to include paintings, bas-reliefs and sculpture.
In many of her artworks of the last two decades, Ruddick used silk, cotton and wool thread to create painterly abstractions on linen canvas. Blurring the line between easel painting and embroidery, these highly praised pieces combined stitching, drawing and sculptural qualities in a style that pushed “fiber art” into the mainstream of contemporary abstract painting.
In all of her new pieces, unlike her abstractions of the past, Ruddick starts with recognizable subject matter: the drapery used in classical art to create the illusion of the human body. She submits these familiar images to the flatness of a gessoed panel and to a distinctly unclassical sculpting medium of her own — polymer, dry pigment and papier mache — with a modern, analytic eye.
The curves and folds of drapery — an obsession of Western art — are examined not only for their figurative uses, but for their formal mysteries as well.
In the paintings, Ruddick works in oil on gessoed panels. Her friezes of female figures pay their respects to Classical and Renaissance masters even as their truncated forms and ethereal draftsmanship reveal them to be the work of a very contemporary sensibility.
The bas-reliefs take the issues investigated in the paintings into yet another dimension. Liberated from the narrative work of her classical models, Ruddick uses the bas-reliefs to experiment with serial imagery and variations on nonfigurative themes. Ruddick shows two kinds of sculpture in her latest show: smaller sculptures in polymer, dry-pigment and papier mache, and larger work in bronze.
“What I love about Dorothy’s work,” says gallery owner Richard York, “is the way she adapts tradition to her own much more abstract vision. It seems very modern to me, very contemporary, the way she appropriates the past and puts it to new uses in the present.”
Ruddick was born in Winnetka, Ill., in 1925. She studied art history as a Radcliffe undergraduate at the Fogg Museum and then transferred to Black Mountain College.
The gallery, 21 East 65th Street, is open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5:30 pm, and Saturdays, 10 am to 5:30 pm. For information, 212-772-9155.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm